Act now to protect our online privacy
A big victory that many of you helped win is on the chopping block. Last year, the Federal Communications Commission adopted rules that let consumers decide whether broadband internet access providers may give strangers our personal information about our online activities. AT&T, Comcast, Verizon and other broadband providers are lobbying hard to eliminate these rules before they take effect. We need to stop them.
Tell Congress and the FCC to preserve our right to online privacy.
We should get our day in court when a bank rips us off. [Action complete]
Comment period closed on August 22, 2016. Many thanks to our supporters who urged the CFPB to restore justice for consumers!
But we are usually out of luck, because businesses insert fine print into consumer contracts that force us to use a private dispute resolution system called arbitration, which is controlled and paid for by the company. The federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has proposed a new rule that would ban most mandatory arbitration clauses in financial contracts. Consumers wronged by a bank, credit card issuer, automobile finance, debt collector or payday lender could band together and file a class action lawsuit in a courtroom. Learn more here.It is time to end a deck stacked against us. Please tell the CFPB to give us our day in court when a giant financial institution takes unfair advantage of us.
Tell your legislators: Oppose misleading health ‘privacy’ bill AB 2688.
AB 2688 (Gordon) would establish toothless privacy rules for Fitbit, First Response ovulation monitors, and other devices and apps that gather and store health information. New draft amendments would give tech companies a license to share our personal health information with almost no restrictions; learn more here. Write to your lawmakers right now. Tell them: Vote No on AB 2688.
Tell the FCC: My privacy is more important than Internet profiteering! [Action complete]
The comment period closed July 6, 2016. Many thanks to all who added their voice to the call for strong Internet privacy regulations!
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is seeking public comment on a proposal to protect the privacy of broadband Internet customers.
Contact the FCC today and demand strong Internet privacy regulations. It's imperative that they hear from people, not just corporations. The more comments we can submit, the more seriously they'll take our feedback.
Fill out the form below, and we'll submit it directly to the FCC. Please feel free to add your comments in the box at the bottom.
Please note: Under FCC rules, your name, address, and comments will be a public record.
Don’t let AT&T gut phone service in California. [Action complete]
Update: AB 2395 died in the Assembly Appropriations Committee. Many thanks to all of you who wrote your lawmakers!
AT&T made billions off its regulated landline services. AB 2395 would let AT&T cut off reliable landline service to several million California consumers. Learn more here, and tell your state legislators to vote No on AB 2395.
Tell legislators: Stop price bias in women’s products. [Action complete]
Senator Hueso withdrew SB 899 from consideration due to lack of support in the Assembly Judiciary Committee.
Many common consumer products that people rely on every day cost more if branded for girls and women than equivalent products that are marketed for boys and men. It’s a rip-off, plain and simple – manufacturers raise the prices they charge for women and simply pocket the excess profits. A 4-pack of Bic Comfort 3 Advance Shavers for men has a suggested retail price of $4.69, for example, but women will pay $7.29 for essentially the same product in feminine packaging – a markup of over 55%. Learn more here.
Uber passengers shouldn’t have to surrender our privacy to get a ride. [Action complete]
Update: Assembly Member Chau has pulled AB 886 from consideration as he and Consumer Federation of California explore other strategies to protect Uber passengers’ privacy.
AB 886 (Chau) would limit the sharing of passengers’ sensitive personal information by so-called transportation network companies like Uber, a company that’s notorious for its careless abuse of the personal data that it collects from its customers. AB 886 protects passengers’ personally identifiable information such as their Social Security numbers, how they pay for their ride and where they go. Because it was introduced last year, AB 886 needs approval from both the Assembly and Senate this month. Learn more here, and then tell your legislators to vote for AB 886 when it comes up for a vote. You can use the sample letter below.
Help students harmed by for-profit college closures get back on track. [Action complete]
Update: Unfortunately, Governor Brown vetoed AB 573 out of concern about creating new costs outside the budget process.
Nearly 13,000 Californians seeking education and advancement had their hopes dashed when the private, for-profit Corinthian Colleges chain (Heald College, Everest College and WyoTech Institute) abruptly shut down earlier this year. Learn more here. Those students need help retrieving their academic records, transferring valid credits to better schools, and finding out if their student loans can be forgiven. AB 573 will provide that help – but only if Governor Brown signs the legislation by October 11. Tell Governor Brown to sign AB 573. You can use the sample letter below or customize it to reflect your thoughts.
Tell the Governor to end secret deals between utilities and regulators. [Action complete]
Unfortunately, Governor Brown vetoed SB 660 (Leno) and other CPUC reform bills. CFC supports Senator Leno's SB 215, which has been amended to achieve much of what we sought to accomplish with SB 660, but we're not currently seeking letters of support to legislators. Therefore, this action is complete -- please do NOT use the sample email below at this time.
The state Legislature approved SB 660 (Leno-Hueso) to put a stop to backroom dealing at the California Public Utilities Commission that enriches electric and gas monopolies at the expense of consumers’ pocketbooks and safety. Learn more here, and urge Governor Brown to sign Senate Bill 660 to clean up the mess at the CPUC. You can use our sample email below.
Aid students victimized by the shutdown of for-profit colleges. [Action complete]
UPDATE: AB 573 passed the Assembly and Senate without a dissenting vote. It now awaits Governor Brown's signature. Thanks to all of you who wrote your lawmakers.
Some 13,000 Californians enrolled in Heald College, Everest College and WyoTech Institute had their hopes for education and advancement dashed this April, when the private, for-profit Corinthian Colleges chain abruptly shut down. AB 573 would help those students retrieve their academic records, transfer valid credits to California’s community colleges, and find out if their federal student loans can be forgiven. Learn more here. Help those hard-working students by urging your State Senator and Assembly Member to vote Aye on AB 573. You can use the sample letter below to help ex-Corinthian students get back on track.
Support SB 660: Stop the backroom dealing at CPUC. [Action complete]
UPDATE: Approved by both houses of the Legislature, SB 660 now awaits Governor Brown's signature. Thanks to all of you who wrote your lawmakers.
California’s Public Utilities Commission’s mission is to regulate gas, electric, telephone and other utilities in the public interest. However, thousands of recently released emails reveal backroom dealing to benefit PG&E, Southern California Edison and SDG&E – at a cost to consumers’ pocketbooks and our safety. Learn more here, and then tell your lawmakers to support Senate Bill 660 to clean up the mess at the CPUC. You can use our sample email.
Help parents steer clear of dangerous, ineffective flame retardants in children’s products. [Action complete]
Update: CFC withdrew its support of SB 763 after hostile amendments in the Assembly Appropriations Committee weakened the measure. The bill did not advance. Thank you to all who who wrote your legislators, and please watch for developments in 2016.
Parents should have the right to know whether the products their children use contain ineffective flame-retardant chemicals that have been linked to cancer, decreased fertility, hormone disruption, lowered IQ, and hyperactivity. Read more here, and then take action to give parents the information they need to make informed choices about the products they buy for their children.
The State Senate approved this label legislation 30-10 on June 3, but it still must pass the Assembly. Urge your Assembly Member to support SB 763. Feel free to customize the sample letter below.
Ask the Governor to protect seniors from unethical long-term care referrals.
Unlicensed agencies referring vulnerable elders to assisted living facilities don’t have to check up on the facilities and don’t have to disclose that they are paid by the facility that receives the referral. Read more here. SB 648 would license these agencies and establish the consumer’s right to know how the agencies are paid. Urge the governor to sign SB 648.
Feel free to customize the sample letter below.
No On AB 925: Don't let businesses secretly record phone calls. [Action complete]
UPDATE: AB 925 was held in committee; the bill is dead for this year. Thanks to all who wrote their lawmakers opposing AB 925!
Assembly Bill 925 (Low, D-Campbell) would strip Californians of our longstanding protection against being secretly recorded by companies they do business with over a cell phone: banks, retailers, bill collectors, health care providers, sub-prime lenders, auto dealers, student loan firms and every other business. Read more here, and tell your lawmaker to vote no – but time is short; AB 925 will be considered by the Assembly Public Safety Committee May 5.
Feel free to customize the sample letter below.
Tell your lawmakers to protect the privacy of Uber passengers. [Action complete]
UPDATE: AB 886 is now a two-year bill. It may be taken up again in January 2016 – we'll announce it if it is. Thanks to all who wrote their lawmakers.
Uber, a $40 billion transportation network company (TNC), entertained party guests by showing them real-time locations of named passengers in Uber vehicles, allowed a job applicant to look up the travel logs of customers including an elected official’s family, and invaded a reporter’s privacy by accessing her travel records without her permission. Read more here. AB 886 will help to protect passenger privacy from corporate intrusion by TNCs such as Uber, Lyft and Sidecar. Urge your legislators to support AB 886.
Feel free to customize the sample letter below.
Tell Uber to clean up its act [Action complete]
Uber, the transportation network behemoth, made headlines when Senior Vice President Emil Michael recently suggested to reporters that the company might spend a million dollars to dig up dirt on a journalist who had written uncomplimentary articles about Uber. But it's just the latest example of arrogance from an $18 billion firm that competes with cab drivers to help people get around.
Enough. Tell Uber to clean up its act. It should start by firing Senior VP Emil Michael. Feel free to customize the sample letter below.
Tell Gov. Brown to sign SB 1019. Californians should know about toxic furniture. [Action complete]
UPDATE: Gov. Brown signed SB 1019 Sept. 30, 2014. Thanks to all who wrote to him – you made a difference!
For decades, an obsolete state regulation loaded upholstered furniture with toxic, ineffective flame retardant chemicals that don’t prevent fires but do harm our health when they migrate from the furniture into our bodies.
Regulatory changes have established a fire-safe alternative to the discredited chemicals, but consumers currently have no way of knowing whether the furniture they’re considering buying contains harmful toxins. Learn more here.
Senate Bill 1019 on Gov. Brown’s desk would equip consumers with the knowledge we need by requiring upholstered or foam-filled furniture sold in California to carry a label with two boxes, one of which must be accurately checked, stating:
This product meets California’s furniture fire safety standard and:
_____ contains added flame retardant chemicals
______ contains NO added flame retardant chemicals
Chemical manufacturers don’t want to lose a lucrative market. They are pressuring the governor to veto SB 1019.
Tell Gov. Brown to sign SB 1019. Feel free to customize the sample letter below.
Urge Gov. Brown to sign SB 1256 to protect uninsured patients from medical financing rip-offs [Action complete]
Good news – Gov. Brown has signed SB 1256! Thanks for your interest, and watch for more opportunities to make a difference!
Patients needing credit for medical procedures that are not covered by insurance shouldn’t be subject to unfair financing schemes arranged through their health care provider. These credit arrangements often pay the provider before the treatment is rendered, and include exorbitant deferred financing if the patient fails to make any payment in full – whether or not treatment is properly delivered. Senate Bill 1256 prevents collusive and deceptive credit arrangement between lenders and doctors or other care providers. Learn more here. Brown has until Monday, Aug. 25, to sign the measure. Tell the governor to sign SB 1256 today.
Feel free to customize the sample letter below.
Tell the CPUC: Uber-rich corporations should be liable for death and injury [Action complete]
The rise of Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) such as Uber and Lyft, providing services similar to taxicabs but without the same protections, has opened a dangerous gap in public safety and security – one that you can help persuade the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to remedy if you act now.
On July 10, the CPUC will consider a proposal to clarify insurance regulations governing TNCs. It would impose a million-dollar commercial coverage requirement on a TNC as soon as a driver opens an online “app” to signal availability to pick up paying passengers – “app on,” as it’s called – and the requirement would remain in force until “app off,” when the driver is no longer available for hire. Read more here.
Feel free to customize the sample letter below to add your support to the proposed regulation.
Hold manufacturers liable for selling junk products: SB 1188 [Action complete]
Recent court rulings have let business off the hook when they sold TV screens that turned hazy, computers that overheated, and washing machines with control panels that malfunctioned.
In the past under California law, businesses faced charges of fraud if they knew of a latent product defect, but failed to inform consumers about it. But in a string of recent cases, judges tossed out fraudulent omission claims unless the product or service posed a demonstrable risk to health or safety.
Senate Bill 1188 by Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson spells out that a company commits fraud by failing to disclose a known defect, whether or not it kills or maims you. Learn more.
Without SB 1188, in all but the most dangerous cases, businesses will be free to hush up their knowledge that their products are faulty. The bill faces fierce opposition from high tech and industrial lobbyists. Urge your lawmakers to support SB 1188 now!
Urge your Senator to restore online credit card privacy [Action complete]
CFC is sponsoring SB 383 (Jackson) to restore privacy protection for online credit card purchases, which was eliminated by a bad California Supreme Court decision.
Under this court ruling, online merchants selling downloadable products may now demand personal information without limit from credit card holders, and use the information gathered for marketing, for sale to third parties, or for other data-mining purposes.
The California Legislature long ago recognized that retailers don’t have the right to gather personal information from credit card users for marketing purposes. This has been the law for more than two decades and the Court’s opinion is a gift to online businesses, many of which have demonstrated a callous disregard for customer privacy.
SB 383 strikes a balance between consumer privacy and crime prevention. It allows online merchants selling downloads to collect only the personal information that is needed to stop fraud or identity theft. As important, it prohibits online merchants from using that private information for marketing, data mining or for sale to third parties.
The Senate approved SB 383 on January 30, 2014, and it now faces a battle in the Assembly. Please urge your lawmaker to support SB 383!
Put Privacy on the Ballot! [Action complete]
When lawmakers and regulators ignore corporate intrusions into our private lives, we have no choice but to act for ourselves. Read about government inaction here. Join the privacy revolt. Help us put together a ballot initiative limiting big business from gathering information without our OK about our health conditions, our finances, our whereabouts, our political views and other aspects our personal lives.