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What Internet Users And Companies Alike Need To Know When California’s Landmark Consumer Privacy Law Goes Into Effect On Wednesday

Beginning January 1, companies that collect, store and trade data will have to adhere to a landmark new privacy law in California.
Beginning January 1, companies that collect, store and trade data will have to adhere to a landmark new privacy law in California.
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If you’ve noticed a recent increase in the number of emails about updated privacy regulations that you’ve gotten from sites like Google, Facebook or Uber, it’s not just a coincidence.

Starting on January 1, companies both large and small that collect, store and trade data will have to adhere to a landmark new privacy law that California’s legislature passed this year. The California Consumer Privacy Act gives consumers the right to request that a company share the personal information it has collected and stored on them, and further empowers them to ask that company not to sell that personal information. The law applies to companies that bring in at least $25 million in annual revenue, make at least half their revenue by selling data,  If a company violates that law, it can be fined $2,500. That number increases if the violation is determined to have been intentional. With the exception of data breaches, however, individual consumers won’t be able to sue companies who violate the law. That falls to California Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s office, and there is question about whether it has the resources to truly give the law the fangs it’s meant to have. And the law doesn’t just apply to companies based in California. Virtually all companies that have a website and deal with customers in California will have to adhere to the new rules.

Advocates of the law say it will finally give consumers the power they’ve long desired to control how companies use the personal data they collect on users and help to reign in an industry that has gone largely unregulated when it comes to data collection. But opponents in the business and privacy communities worry the new law is a knee-jerk reaction to the number of high-profile data breaches that have been in the news over the last few years. They also say the law may hamstring smaller companies that don’t have the staff or budget to ensure timely compliance.

Today on AirTalk, we’ll discuss the practical implications of the new law for both the average consumer and companies both large and small who are now having to adapt to the new law. If you have questions or thoughts on the CCPA, join the live conversation by calling 866-893-5722.

We contacted California Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s office to request comment, as they are the agency tasked with drafting the rules for the California Consumer Privacy Act, but they could not provide us with someone for comment.

With guest host Kyle Stokes


Mary Stone Ross, co-author of the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and former president of Californians for Consumer Privacy, which sponsored the CCPA; on January 1 she will begin her new role as associate director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a Washington, D.C.-based public interest research center focused on emerging privacy and civil liberties issues; she tweets @MarySRoss18

Eric Goldman, professor of law at Santa Clara University where he specializes in privacy and internet law; he tweets @ericgoldman