The Golden State vanguard: Tech companies respond to California’s clampdown

Here’s how Big Tech is responding to 2 major new laws in California.

The state of California entered a new era after the clock struck midnight at the close of 2019. 

The Golden State vanguard: Tech companies respond to California’s clampdown

Two major state laws took effect, and they could reshape Silicon Valley’s relationship with the lifeblood of the digital economy: real, live human beings.

Why the 2 measures matter

Three weeks into 2020, we’re starting to get a clearer picture of how companies will get by in the Brave New World of California. Here’s a rundown.

Up first: Assembly Bill 5

What it does: Companies that hire independent contractors are now required to classify most of them as employees, giving them access to stronger benefits.

Why it matters: Tech companies rely on these gig workers in a huge way. They form the backbone of entire business models — looking at you, Uber and DoorDash.

What’s happening now: The law is forcing the companies to rethink how they operate. 

  • Uber is testing a new feature that allows some California drivers to set their own fares, The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday
  • Uber is also teaming up with other companies to raise money for a ballot initiative that would exempt them from the new rules

Next: The California Consumer Privacy Act

What it does: It gives consumers new rights around how their personal information is stored and shared.

Why it matters: Users can request the information that companies have collected about them — and the picture isn’t always pretty.

What’s happening now:

  • The Washington Post spot-checked Big Tech’s efforts to comply. The verdict? Spotty, at best
  • As for Uber: It’ll reveal a customer’s star rating, but not some customer service calls. The Post said the company “maintains other data undisclosed in CCPA requests,” too

Get the 5-minute news brief keeping 2.5M+ innovators in the loop. Always free. 100% fresh. No bullsh*t.