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California establishes privacy protection unit

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California-based websites playing fast and loose with users’ privacy, watch out. There’s a new sheriff in town.

Kamala D. Harris, California’s Attorney General, announced plans Thursday to create a special division called the Privacy Enforcement and Protection Unit, devoted to protecting consumer and individual privacy in the digital age.

“The Privacy Unit will police the privacy practices of individuals and organizations to hold accountable those who misuse technology to invade the privacy of others,” Harris said in a speech.

The unit is staffed with six dedicated prosecutors, and it’s already functional.

As noted in a press release from the California Department of Justice, the Privacy Unit would enforce the state’s constitution, which stresses citizens’ rights to privacy in its declaration of rights.

A representative for the Privacy Unit told the Daily Dot via email that any website that breaks its own terms of service and ignores consumers’ privacy violates California’s unfair competition statute. That makes them fair game for the new unit.

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