Letter: California Assembly Bill 375

August 31, 2017

The Honorable Ed Chau
California State Assembly
State Capitol, Room 5016
Sacramento, CA 95814


Dear Assembly Member Chau:

I am writing with respect to AB 375, which would enact the California Broadband Privacy Act. On behalf of our many developer members that reside in California, and the ecosystem members that rely on them, the Developers Alliance must respectfully oppose this measure.

The Developers Alliance is the world’s leading advocate for software developers and the companies invested in their success. Alliance members include industry leaders in consumer, enterprise, industrial, and emerging software development, and a global network of more than 70,000 developers – including many in California.

Online privacy is an important issue that deserves public debate. While on the one hand Californians and other Americans value their privacy, we also know that they value the many valuable services they regularly access online. Many of these services grew from developer-driven innovation based on ideas and insights that came from the data users voluntarily share. Overly restrictive legislation risks stifling future innovation, with consequent impacts to the California economy and the thriving developer community the state has built. We urge the Assembly to take the time necessary to fully explore the potential impact of the proposal and to further refine the text of such an important measure.

Further, privacy policy is a highly complex and nuanced field that is undergoing significant evolution. The Federal Trade Commission and other experts have built a large body of knowledge and a resulting taxonomy and framework for online privacy expectation and management. AB 375, rather than following this well researched path, strikes out in a new and uncharted direction. Without examining the costs and benefits of abandoning conventional wisdom in the field, we question whether the Assembly can adequately assess the potential impact on the innovation economy in California, how many future jobs will be lost, or what opportunities Californians will lose where local rules are at odds with those in other jurisdictions. Technology talent is mobile, as is investment, and funds and jobs will flow to where regulations are stable, fair, and backed by solid economic analysis in addition to populist opinion.

The developer community in California is the foundation of global innovation and the envy of the world. Our members are keenly aware that consumer trust is the bedrock their future success rests on. Maintaining that trust is a significant focus for the entire digital industry, and we welcome the chance to work with the Assembly in developing useful and effective safeguards, but only where the consumer benefits are clear and the costs are understood. Rushed legislation is bad legislation, and so we encourage further dialog and debate on this critically important measure.


Sincerely,

Bruce Gustafson
President and CEO


Cc    The Honorable Kevin de León
        The Honorable Anthony Cannella
        The Honorable Toni Atkins
        The Honorable Tom Berryhill
        The Honorable Connie Leyva