CCPA: The First Step in a Nationwide Trend

The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)—the strictest privacy law in the United States— is now in effect.  California consumers now have more insight and control over how businesses use their personal information including the right to know what businesses collect; the right to opt-out of the sale of their personal information; the right to sue companies if a business fails to implement reasonable security measures and certain categories of personal information are breached; and, the right to delete their personal information.  Significantly, the CCPA expands critical definitions including “personal information” and “sale.”

Compliance has been inconsistent, at best.  Some businesses are extending CCPA protections to all Americans.  Meanwhile, others are either not complying or doing the minimum to comply.  The state Attorney General will begin enforcing CCPA violations in July which will likely improve compliance.

The CCPA, however, is the first step in a nationwide trend for stricter privacy regulation. California has a history of paving the way for other states including for data breach notification and car emissions standards.  Other states including Washington, Nevada, and Florida have introduced their own weaker versions of the CCPA.  New York has introduced a stronger privacy law that imposes strict obligations on any business, an “information fiduciary,” who collects personal information, and allows injured New Yorkers to sue for any violation of the Act. The sponsor expects the law to pass this year.

There is growing pressure on Congress to pass federal comprehensive privacy legislation.  Members in both houses have introduced bills.  By far, Congresswomen Anna Eshoo and Zoe Lofgren introduced the most far-reaching bill which will establish an independent Data Protection Agency. Their bill is also an important signal of Congress’s willingness to regulate, as both of their districts cover portions of Silicon Valley.

-Mary Stone Ross, Associate Director, EPIC

Mary Stone Ross is the former President of Californians for Consumer Privacy.