~ California Senator proposes to outlaw private investigators ~

The California legislature is spinning out of earth’s atmosphere in its attempt to ameliorate the misuse of personal data a la Choicepoint. State Senator Jackie Speier introduced SB 550, which has been re-referred to the Judiciary Committee. The broad language of the bill can be interpreted to apply to any information services enterprise, which are foundational to our economy.

LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL’S DIGEST
SB 550, as amended, Speier. Data brokers.
(1) Existing law generally regulates a business that discloses personal information about a California resident to 3rd parties.

This bill would further regulate a data broker, which would be defined as a commercial entity that collects, assembles, or maintains personally identifiable information about a California resident for the sale or transmission of, or provision of access to, that information to any 3rd party.

The bill would amend SECTION 1. Title 1.805 (commencing with Section 1798.79), adding to Part 4 of Division 3 of the Civil Code. It defines data broker in such a way that many businesses, including private investigators, would not be able to gather information required for legal, litigation, due diligence and other business purposes. It states, in part:

1.805. DATA BROKERS
1798.79. For purposes of this title:
(a) “Data broker” means a commercial entity that collects, assembles, or maintains personally identifiable information about a California resident for the sale or transmission of, or the provision of access to, that information to any third party, whether that collection, assembly, or maintenance is performed by the data broker directly or by contract or subcontract with any other entity.

Doesn’t this mean that the private investigator can’t obtain the name, address or telephone number of a witness and pass that to their attorney-client?

Adding to the potential of a fraud layered upon the documented frauds, this bill proposes to let consumers decide the information about them that will be retained by data brokers, then to opt out of the databases all together.

1798.79.2. (a) Every individual may request that his or her personally identifiable information be excluded from any report prepared by a data broker. Every data broker shall establish a notification system, including, but not limited to, a toll?free telephone number, through which an individual can provide notice to that broker that the individual’s personally identifiable information shall be excluded therefor.

And then you’ll have to tell your clients’ that a background report on a witness will cost $3000, plus attorney’s fees…..

SEC. 2. Section 1798.84 of the Civil Code is amended to read:
1798.84.
(a) Any waiver of a provision of this title is contrary
to public policy and is void and unenforceable.
(b) Any customer or individual whose personal information is disclosed who is injured by a violation of this title may institute a civil action to recover damages.
(c) In addition, for a willful, intentional, or reckless violation of Section 1798.83, a customer may recover a civil penalty not to exceed three thousand dollars ($3,000) per violation; otherwise, the customer may recover a civil penalty of up to five hundred dollars ($500) per violation for a violation of Section 1798.83.

Read the bill. Contact Senator Speier.

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