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Although Privacy is on a Back Burner, California May Outdo Its Own State Law in November

Adrienne Patton



Photo of Joan Stewart courtesy Wiley

April 1, 2020 –States have put privacy legislation on a back burner during the coronavirus pandemic. At the same time, even the well-known California Consumer Privacy Act may be superseded by a new referendum, the California Privacy Rights Act, to be placed on the state’s ballot in November.

Passed in 2018 and effective on January 1, 2020, the CCPA is already in force. The state’s attorney general did not respond to requests to suspend implementation in the wake of the coronavirus, said Wiley attorney Joan Stewart, speaking on a Tuesday webinar. Wiley is the new name for the law firm formerly known as Wiley Rein.

The CCPA requires a privacy policy and a notice at collection, and the request to opt-out for consumers was made “easy for consumers to execute” according to the CCPA.

A new clarification of the CCPA states that service providers cannot “sell data on behalf of a business when a consumer has opted-out of the sale of their personal information with the business.”

But verification procedures “continue to be tricky,” added Duane C. Pozza, another Wiley attorney.

As regulations are set in stone, Pozza suggested businesses “look closely at service provider obligations” and stay updated as regulations become finalized.

Boyd Garriott said that the CPRA ballot measure was actually filed by Alastair Mactaggart, the “architect” and advocate of the CCPA.

If the new CPRA was placed on the November 3, 2020, ballot and passes, that would change the CCPA significantly, said Garriott.

The proposed CPRA defines “sensitive personal information” as data that reveals ethnic information, religious belief, biometric information, social security number, etc., explained Garriott. It could also impose “new limits on targeted advertising” and “steeper penalties for violations regarding individuals who are under 16 years of age,” added Garriott.

But we will not know if these changes will happen until November, said Garriott.

Other states like Washington, New York, and Illinois are following California’s lead in privacy laws, but this is on hold due to coronavirus, said Pozza.

This is the second year that Washington state has failed to pass the Washington Privacy Act, said Pozza. But Washington will probably work on it again next year, admitted Pozza.


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