California SB 1001, Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 17940, et seq., takes effect July 1, 2019. The law regulates the online use of “bots” – computer programs that interact with a human being and give the appearance of being an actual person – by requiring disclosure when bots are being used.
The law applies in limited cases of online communications to (a) sell commercial goods or services, or (b) influence a vote in an election. Specifically, the law prohibits using a bot in those circumstances, “with the intent to mislead the other person about its artificial identity for the purpose of knowingly deceiving the person about the content of the communication in order to incentivize a purchase or sale of goods or services in a commercial transaction or to influence a vote in an election.” Disclosure of the existence of the bot avoids liability.
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