Tough new privacy legislation and employment laws which regulate gig economy workers have come into effect in California. 

The two new state laws are relevant to the wider digital ecosystem because — as the largest economy in the US — California’s laws often become the de facto rules for companies based around the country or the globe. 

The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) came into effect on January 1, and applies to firms outside the state if they have with revenues of $US25 million and above and process its residents’ data. The law won’t be enforced until July. 

CCPA allows Californians to find out what data has been collected about them, have that data erased and prohibit the data gatherers from selling their information to third parties. Noticeably, it also requires companies to add a button to their homepage which says ‘Do not sell my data’.  

‘Do not sell my info’ added to the Vox media homepage.

The rules are in-line with a wider global movement toward tougher privacy laws, led by Europe’s GDPR regulation. In Australia, the government has pledged to review privacy legislation to give consumers more control over their data and personal information in the digital age.

Assembly Bill 5 (AB-5) also went into effect on January 1, 2020 which ensures gig workers employment benefits such as minimum wage, health insurance and workers’ compensation. 

Passed in September, the laws requiring gig economy companies to treat their workers as employees rather than contractors. 

In contrast, last June Australia’s Fair Work Ombudsman ruled local Uber drivers to be independent contractors, not employees, in part because there was no “obligation for an employee to perform work when it is demanded by the employer”. 

According to TechCrunch, Uber and Postmates are challenging the new law, arguing it is unconstitutional and restricts employment opportunities for workers. 

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