California Bears Down On Consumer Online Privacy

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California recently passed the nation’s toughest online privacy law. The new law, which takes effect in January 2020, provides consumers with the right to know what personal information companies are collecting, why they are collecting it, and which businesses they are sharing it with. Consumers will also have the right to direct companies to delete their information or simply not to sell it. The new law also expressly prohibits the sharing or selling of data of children under the age of 16.

According to the new law, if a person decides to opt out, companies will not be able to sell their information. However, companies will be able to “share” people’s information and charge those that opt out a premium for utilizing their services. Essentially a “pay for privacy” standard. 

Furthermore, a provision allows a business to avoid liability for breaking the law so long as it ceases activity within 30 days of the original violation. While California’s new law is promising and does provide needed protections for consumers, gaps remain which may require filling in the future.

What’s the benefit to consumers if companies will still share information despite them choosing to opt out to prevent companies from “selling” their data? How do you feel about California’s new law?