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Privacy First: San Francisco Embraces Data Protection

Media Alert

SAN FRANCISCO, November 14, 2018 - The adoption by the City of San Francisco of expansive data privacy guidelines for implementation by May 2019 positions the City to have some of the strongest data protection and privacy laws in the country. 

What are the implications of this ground-breaking ballot initiative?

Cynthia Cole is Special Counsel with Baker Botts L.L.P., based in Palo Alto. She has co-authored a number of articles on data protection and privacy in addition to a series on the impact of the EU’s GDPR on U.S. businesses. 

Commenting on the recent San Francisco ordinance, Ms. Cole said:

  • “San Francisco will not be the only municipality or local legislative body to adopt strict data protection principles and ordinances going forward. This is just the beginning and businesses should be mindful.”
  • “The EU’s GDPR has set off a string of global data privacy regulation. It is only a matter of time before we see other jurisdictions in the United States, including, the federal government, follow Europe’s lead."
  •  “Data is becoming an expensive commodity and talk is cheap. U.S. companies should prepare themselves and understand, as organizations, how they collect and analyze data. What the short and long-term implications are, of the multiplicity of legislation, for their business.”

Reporters interested in speaking to Ms. Cole on the new San Francisco ballot initiative and the broader national implications of global data privacy laws should contact Stephen Hastings [email protected] or +1.713.229.1539.

San Francisco’s Privacy First Policy 11 Guiding Principles:

  1. Inform those likely to be affected by the collection of their Personal Information prior to authorizing and prior to any change regarding the collection of their Personal Information.
  2. Ensure that Personal Information is collected pursuant to a lawful and authorized purpose. 
  3. Allow individuals to access and correct any inaccurate Personal Information about themselves that has been collected. 
  4. Solicit informed consent to the collection of Personal Information and provide alternative and equal access to goods and services for those who deny or revoke consent. 
  5. Discourage the collection of Personal Information, including potentially sensitive demographic information. 
  6. De-identify data sets collected for research and other analytical purposes by removing the ability to connect personal characteristics with specific individuals and implementing technical safeguards to prevent re-identification of information.
  7. Adopt and make public policies and practices to respond to requests for Personal Information from governmental entities.
  8. Allow individuals to move and organize in the City without being tracked or located in a manner that subjects them to unconsented collection of their Personal Information.
  9. Evaluate, anticipate, and mitigate actual or potential bias or inaccuracy in the collection of Personal Information.
  10. Retain Personal Information for only as long as necessary to accomplish a lawful and authorized purpose
  11. Secure Personal Information against unauthorized or unlawful processing or disclosure; unwarranted access, manipulation, or misuse; and accidental loss, destruction, or damage.

Baker Botts is an international law firm whose lawyers practice throughout a network of offices around the globe. Based on our experience and knowledge of our clients' industries, we are recognized as a leading firm in the energy, technology and life sciences sectors. Since 1840, we have provided creative and effective legal solutions for our clients while demonstrating an unrelenting commitment to excellence. For more information, please visit

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