Examples of hypocrisy in politics are common but in California they are legion. Take Governor Newsom for example. During the pandemic, he lectured Californians to stay home and wear masks while he dined unmasked at a fancy Napa Valley restaurant. And just last weekend, it was revealed that he was vacationing in Montana, a state which is on California’s “no state funds to travel to” list because of its discriminatory policies against LGBTQ people.

Despite Newsom’s “do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do” arrogance, the winner for this month’s hypocrisy award must go to California’s Attorney General Rob Bonta. Ever since his appointment to office by Governor Newsom – he was not elected – Bonta has crusaded on the issue of consumer privacy. In a March 7th press release he promised that data privacy would be an “enforcement priority,” citing the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), a bill he enthusiastically supported as a legislator.

Other examples where Bonta has claimed to be a champion of privacy include a May 26th press release stating that those who create health-related apps have a legal obligation “to protect reproductive health information.” Another press release from January of this year touts his putting on notice businesses which have “loyalty” programs such as discounts or other rewards for providing additional data.

In his own words, Bonta has said that the “Enforcement of the CCPA marks an enormous step for privacy protection in California.”

But Bonta’s zealous protection of privacy seems to be selective. Just a few weeks ago, Bonta released a broad range of data related to firearms “to increase transparency and information sharing.” As a government watchdog organization, we’re all for transparency, but it’s hard to ignore the double standard being applied here, especially when it comes to personal information which, if disclosed, could cause injury to thousands of Californians.

While Bonta imposes strict requirements on the private sector to guard private information, his office made an embarrassing, and potentially deadly, disclosure. When a California Department of Justice (DOJ)’s 2022 Firearms Dashboard Portal went online, it made accessible the names, addresses and other personal information of CCW (concealed carry weapon) permit holders.