Newsom signs bill that would make it easier to delete online personal data

Man with mobile phone
Data brokers collect and sell people’s personal information.
(Getty Images)

Californians will be able to make a single request asking that data brokers delete their personal information, under a bill Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law Tuesday.

Senate Bill 362, also known as the Delete Act, directs the California Privacy Protection Agency to create this new tool by January 2026.

Data brokers include businesses that gather and sell people’s personal data such as addresses, spending habits and employment status. Roughly 500 data brokers are registered in California, and these businesses include everything from people-search sites to analytic firms that work with political campaigns.


Privacy advocates say it should be easier for people to delete personal information held by data brokers. Businesses say doing so will “destroy California’s data-driven economy.”

Aug. 29, 2023

Californians already have the right to ask businesses to delete their personal information, but consumers have to make multiple requests. It’s also tough for consumers to know which data brokers have their personal data, and businesses might deny a deletion request.

State lawmakers who passed the bill said the Delete Act will help protect consumer privacy and make it easier to get sensitive information erased.

“Data brokers possess thousands of data points on each and every one of us, and they currently sell reproductive healthcare, geolocation, and purchasing data to the highest bidder,” Sen. Josh Becker (D-Menlo Park), who wrote SB 362, said in a statement. “The DELETE Act protects our most sensitive information.”

Newsom’s signing of the bill, he added, also “enshrines California as a leader in consumer privacy.”

Businesses that rely on personal data to market their products, verify identities or combat crime opposed the measure, arguing it would harm the economy. The Consumer Data Industry Assn., which represents consumer reporting agencies, along with other business groups opposed the bill.

“SB 362 could have unintended consequences for all Californians: undermining consumer fraud protections, hurting small businesses’ ability to compete, and solidifying the big platforms’ data dominance,” said Justin Hakes, vice president of communications and public affairs for the Consumer Data Industry Association, in a statement.


Consumers could exclude certain data brokers from their deletion request, and there are exemptions under the bill.