Astroturf Nonprofit Group Guns For Privacy-Friendly State Senator


In a shocking letter, a newly incorporated group calling itself the Nonprofit Alliance has called for the removal of jurisdiction over statewide privacy legislation from the California State Senate’s Judiciary committee, chaired by Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson.

The request, which Senate Speaker Toni Atkins says “is not being considered”, called for the realignment due to the committee’s amendments of industry bills to weaken California’s consumer privacy act. CCPA is the only comprehensive statewide consumer privacy legislation in the country. Often referred to as America’s GDPR, the CCPA is scheduled to go into effect in 2020.

The group’s letter, which targets committee chair Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, calls her “strident” in a classic sexist trope and calls the committee “inhospitable”, as if it were a tea party and not a policy body.

Nonprofit organizations are exempt from the CCPA, but despite the name, the majority of the member organizations of the Nonprofit Alliance are not nonprofits, but data mining and marketing companies that work for large nonprofits. (According to Politico, the group is composed of 2/3 for-profit entities and only 1/3 non-profit entities).

The group pleads the dependence of some large nonprofits on data mining to locate new members. (Nonprofits the group does have as members include Food and Water Watch, AARP, Audubon Society, Nature Conservancy, Alzheimer’s Association, Special Olympics, Medecins Sans Frontieres and the Nature Conservancy). For example, TNPA’s letter cites an environmental organization canvassing recent sales of hiking boots to solicit donations.

What is left out of their equation is consumer consent. What CCPA (if not gutted) will provide is the right to opt out of having your every purchase of a tent or a hiking boot relayed to the Nature Conservancy so they can offer you a tote bag if you join them. Consumers who don’t mind such solicitations won’t opt out. Those who wish to keep their camping purchases private from data miners will be able to do so. But as with much data mining, the implicit assumption of industry is that if given a chance to protect their privacy rights, consumers will choose to do so.

It isn’t clear if the big nonprofits that fund TNPA know that they are paying to gut consumer privacy rights in California, nor what their California members would think of such activities if they knew about them. Consumer privacy advocates including Consumer Action, Consumer Watchdog, Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, Media Alliance, ACLU of California, The Center for Digital Democracy and Common Sense Media wrote a letter in reponse.

You can read it below, along with the Nonprofit Alliance’s original letter.




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.