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California is bringing law and order to big data. It could change the internet in the U.S.

May 13, 2019 / Cyrus Farivar

SAN FRANCISCO California is embarking on a new era of privacy on the internet, and Xavier Becerra can’t stop thinking about the failed debut of Obamacare. Back in 2013, Becerra, then a Democratic congressman from Los Angeles, watched as technical problems with the website marred the rollout of President Barack Obama’s signature law, delaying sign-ups for health insurance and denting the public’s faith in the new offering. Now, as California’s attorney general, Becerra is worried that a similarly halting start awaits the California Consumer Privacy Act, a far-reaching law that would put some of the world's strictest rules on how tech companies  many of which call the state home  handle and collect user data. The rest of the country is watching closely. No other state has attempted such an ambitious privacy law, and since before the dawn of the internet, Congress hasn’t either. The law has numerous parts. It forces companies to reveal what data...