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Gov. Newsom: California is ready to regulate tech

His data dividend proposal is just one example, the governor tells Axios.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks from behind a podium at a news conference in Sacramento in March.

In an interview published Monday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom says he's shown he's willing to regulate tech.

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California Gov. Gavin Newsom's plan to charge tech companies for using residents' personal information should put Silicon Valley on notice. Be warned: The Golden State is prepared to regulate you. 

"If you're starting to have data dividend conversations, it shows that you're willing to step into a space," Newsom said in an interview with Axios on Monday. "We are willing to happily step into a space."

He first mentioned the idea of a data dividend in February during his state of the state speech. Saying "your data belongs to you," Newsom showed support for a groundbreaking policy that'd make tech companies return some of the money they make off the data that users give up for free. The idea has been around for decades, and a similar law failed to pass in Washington state in 2017. On Monday, Newsom said it's a sign he isn't afraid to go after tech companies where they make their money.

The same thing could be said for the state's new privacy regulations, which were passed in June 2018 by the legislature after California real estate investor Alastair Mactaggart agreed to remove his more aggressive version of the law from the November ballot. The law goes into effect in January.

"It's a demonstrable example of something we've done," Newsom said Monday. "So it's a proof point."

He made his remarks in response to questions from Axios about what the state could do about Facebook's refusal to take down a doctored video of Nancy Pelosi. Newsom didn't directly say he'd propose regulation about altered or fake videos on social media, but he said Facebook should be wary going forward.

"It was a curious decision," he said. "And if they make the mistake of making a determination in other instances that are consequential, they will pay."

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