Today, data privacy is a major concern being discussed and acted on the world over. In the last decade, several countries and governments around the world have decided to go on a data privacy law introduction spree. Among all the data privacy regulations introduced to date, the EU’s GDPR, or General Data Protection Regulation is widely considered one of the most consequential ones. Jumping on this bandwagon, the US state of California decided to introduce a data privacy framework of its own, and thus, the CCPA was introduced. Expanded as California Consumer Protection Act, this can be considered the first step in ensuring data security and protection for each and every resident of the state. 

Here, we will be looking at the details of this California data privacy law, and what changes businesses should integrate to comply with the regulations, while making the most of the situation. 

The significance of the California Consumer Protection Act. 

The CCPA was introduced to improve and bolster consumer protection and data privacy. Mr. Jerry Brown put his signature on the bill and converted it into law.

A ground-breaking deal in itself, this became the first step in the USA’s data privacy journey. This law’s intention is as follows.

  • This law enables consumers to learn what personal data sets are being collected by the website or platform they are visiting. 
  • The consumer reserves the right to learn whether their personal data is being sold or disclosed to a third party and if yes, to whom. This is a significant change that the California consumer act brought forth. 
  • Under this act, consumers can deny the selling of data to a third party for any reason. 
  • Under the ambit of this law, consumers can access the personal data sets that businesses possess about them. 
  • Consumers can request businesses to delete any personal data that they may possess. 
  • There may be cases where businesses may be aligned to discriminate against consumers who exercise their data protection rights, and this is where the California privacy rights act comes into play. They protect the consumers from being discriminated against. 

These are some of the intentions that this law brought forth. Now, let us take a look at the classes and categories of organizations that are supposed to comply with the California data privacy law.

These regulations apply to any and all business entities that operate with a for-profit motive collect consumers’ data at various levels, has an existent operations network in the state of California, and satisfy any of the following three criteria.

  • The business earns gross revenue of more than 25 million USD.
  • The business collects, receives, and sells the personal data of more than 50,000 individual consumers or households. 
  • If the business earns more than half of its revenue by selling the said data, then it would fall under the ambit of these data privacy laws. 

It is mandatory for businesses that satisfy these categories to maintain compliance with the regulations to be on the correct side of the law. 

What exactly is personal data?

We have mentioned the term personal data numerous times in this blog, but what exactly is personal data? According to the CCPA, personal data refers to any piece of information that identifies, describes, relates to, and can be linked reasonably to a particular household or individual. Data sets like names, addresses, social security numbers, etc. are referred to as personal data. It should be understood that publicly available data is not considered to be personal data. Under the ambit of the California data privacy law, a person or household’s social media and online information sets are considered to be personal data as well. 

What does it mean for businesses?

When witnessed from the viewpoint of individual customers and households, the enactment of data privacy laws has certainly proved to be a boon, but what about businesses? How can they prepare for data privacy? Online businesses rely heavily on consumer data for customizing their services and products, and this is where a major gap has emerged between the massive MNCs and smaller business firms. On one hand, large businesses and corporations have gathered and hoarded a large amount of consumer data, and thus, fortified a strong position for themselves in the market. Unfortunately, newer players and smaller businesses find it extremely difficult to compete with them. 

The data privacy laws like the California Consumer Act can help level the playing field. Then, the application of tools like cookie consent management, DSARs, and more can help businesses comply with regulations that are in place, without compromise. 

By using these tools and software, businesses can collect their consumer’s data sets that are required. Nowadays, it is online businesses that are at the forefront of trade and commerce. Since they carry out their operations across national lines, they need to comply with a different set of rules and regulations, and this is where the tools come to play once again. They are optimized to behave in a manner where they can automatically adhere to the laws where the data is being collected or accessed. 

These tools enable businesses to streamline their processes further. By collecting data in a refined manner, the overall efficiency of the process gets boosted as well. 

Final take:

Data privacy laws in general, and the CCPA in particular, have changed the dynamics of the commercial world. For businesses and individuals alike, these changes will certainly revolutionize how online commerce is executed.