Landmark Privacy Bill Takes Effect in California
Living in the digital world has afforded consumers with innumerable benefits and unparalleled access to technologies that have a major impact on our day-to-day lives. This, however, is marred by the fact that in a data-driven world, we are at the mercy of our personal information being exploited by unscrupulous parties.
Take, for example, in 2019 when Facebook reluctantly announced it had suffered a data breach, resulting in the exposure of hundreds of millions of user data. Social media providers are no strangers to data-exploitation, but the problem extends to even more intimate industries, including the financial sector. Capital One suffered a catastrophic breach of security after hackers gained access to the personal information of 106 million customers. Equifax, one of the largest credit reporting agencies, also experienced a breach in which 147 million Americans were affected.
With the issue of data security and privacy being thrust to the forefront of public discourse, many states have looked into establishing strongest laws to protect consumers. California is leading the forefront of this privacy revolution with the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which took effect on January 1, 2020. This act is widely regarded as the most comprehensive in the country, giving consumers broad control over how their personal information is handled.
How the CCPA will affect consumers
For a long time, consumers had very little agency when it came to ensuring their personal information is secure. With the CCPA, consumers will now wield a more active role in securing their data with a series of safeguards.
- Businesses must inform consumers of their intent to collect personal data.
- Consumers have a right to know what data is being collected, where it came from, how it will be used, and with whom it will be shared.
- Consumers will have the right to prevent businesses from selling their data.
- Consumers can request businesses to remove any personal information. that they may be storing.
- Businesses will not be able to refuse to provide service or raise prices for customers who exercise their privacy rights.
How to request your data
All California residents will be able to receive a copy of their data by sending a “verifiable consumer request” to a business. Businesses are required to comply with the request within 45 days of receipt. Consumers will be able to submit a request for information twice a year, and only for a 12-month period.