California SB 242 (Social Networking Privacy Act), which we covered here, would require social networking websites to design default privacy settings that prevent information about a user from being displayed without affirmative consent from the user. On May 27, 2011, the bill failed to receive enough votes to pass the California Senate.
The bill faced strong opposition from social networking sites. After the bill failed, Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes issued the following statement: “Lawmakers rejected Sen. Ellen Corbett’s bill today because it was a step in the wrong direction for California’s growing Internet industry at a time when the state’s economy can least afford it. Sen. Corbett is arguing for unnecessary regulations that ignore the extraordinary lengths that companies like ours go to in order to protect individuals’ privacy and give them the tools to determine for themselves how much information they wish to share online.”
State Senator Ellen Corbett, who proposed the bill, vowed to bring the bill back for another vote this week. The bill was five votes short of a majority, and seven Democrats declined to vote on the bill last week.
UPDATE: Two California senators published an opinion article in the San Francisco Chronicle on June 1, 2011, voicing their opposition to SB 242 as bad policy because: (1) it would “hamstring a global, billion-dollar, interstate industry”; (2) it is “constitutionally unsound”; and (3) it would cause California businesses to relocate to other states.
UPDATE NO. 2: As promised, Senator Corbett brought SB 242 up for a second vote on June 2, 2011. It garnered three additional votes, leaving it two short of a majority. Senatory Corbett said she plans to meet with leaders of social networking companies and consumer groups this summer.