SACRAMENTO (KCBS) – The theft of private electronic data appears to be growing in California, according to a new report from the California Attorney General’s Office.

State Attorney General Kamala Harris said as many as three in five Californians may have had their electronic records stolen last year. Her report blames a few large breaches for most of the thefts. Harris said there were 178 breaches, endangering 24 million records.

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The attorney general said striking a balance between public safety and privacy won’t be easy.

“I have long defended California consumers’ right to privacy, explicit in our Constitution, I take it very seriously,” Harris said. “But obviously we have to strike a balance, and that is often a case by case issue.”

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Harris said she already knows there’ll be some pushback.

“There is going to be a natural tension between what we need to do in terms of public safety and what we need to do to protect privacy,” the attorney general said.

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Harris’ office found that retailers were the most vulnerable during the four-year period covered in the latest report. They were followed by financial institutions, health care and small businesses.