The Fund for Investigative Journalism

Supporting investigative reporting projects around the world

  • Next Deadline: Sept. 23, 2019

  • In California, new legislation may disrupt the disruptors

    In November, San Franciscans voted to amend their city charter to add data protection guidelines for city entities, contractors, businesses and individuals. Since then, city supervisors have introduced legislation to restrict or ban the use of most surveillance and facial recognition technology in the city. But the most controversial aspect proposes being able to use online services in San Francisco without providing any personal details.

    Writing in the San Francisco Public Press, Andrew Stelzer explores the quickly evolving regulatory environment around digital privacy in California, and in particular looks at the proposed changes in San Francisco.

    City leaders have made bold, but so far not very specific, claims about their ability to limit the personal-information free-for-all that is at the heart of the business model for data brokers, many startups, and other digital enterprises.

    Those proposals are potentially disruptive to a tech industry that reaps riches from “disruption.” And critics warn that aggressive regulations could chase data mining companies out of San Francisco, or into the courts to battle regulators.

    Illustration by Reid Brown for San Francisco Public Press