Consumer Groups Push to Strengthen CCPA

Advertising Law

Taking the opposite approach of industry groups, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), Center for Digital Democracy (CDD), Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood and a dozen other consumer organizations are pushing to increase the requirements of the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) that was signed into law this summer. The new law is the nation’s strictest consumer privacy and data protection measure and requires companies to disclose data about consumers at the consumer’s request and allows consumers to opt out of the sale of their data.

As the enforcement date creeps closer, groups like the Interactive Advertising Bureau have encouraged state lawmakers and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who is tasked with drafting regulations for the law, to narrow the definitions and scope of the CCPA.

In a letter, the consumer groups responded with a call to move in the opposite direction and asked for even tougher measures. The “focus this year should be on building upon—and clarifying when needed—CCPA’s protections,” the EFF, CDD and other groups told state lawmakers.

For example, the statute “does not sufficiently define or deter companies’ internal misuse of data,” the groups wrote. “[D]ata misuse should include instances where companies themselves use information in ways that are unexpected and unwanted by individuals,” such as prohibiting a social media company from targeting consumers with ads based on inferences made about their emotional state.

The groups also advocated an expansion of the CCPA to cover all personal information, not just certain types of data, and a broader private right of action. “As stated by the AG himself in requesting this amendment, providing a consumer enforcement remedy allowing consumers to seek legal remedies for themselves to protect their privacy ‘would provide a critical adjunct to governmental enforcement,’” according to the letter.

Just as important, the groups urged lawmakers not to diminish the protections provided by the CCPA and to reject proposals that would create exceptions to the statute. They also argued that lawmakers should reject language that would limit consumers’ ability to access or download their information or that would reduce the type of personal information protected by the law.

“Last year, California took a first-of-its-kind step forward to protect its citizens’ privacy with the passage of the CCPA,” the groups wrote. “We strongly support this action and call on legislators to take further steps now to promote public trust in technology and its benefits and ensure that companies act fairly and responsibly in their collection and use of individuals’ personal information.”

To read the letter, click here.

Why it matters: With the ink barely dry on the CCPA, the consumer groups are already calling for additional data security and privacy protections for consumers, calling the statute “a good foundation” on which to build. “California can and should continue to lead on consumer protection, as it has for decades, with robust, thoughtful legislation that puts people first,” according to the letter. The groups are battling industry attempts to narrow the focus of the law or eliminate it altogether through federal legislation that would pre-empt state requirements.



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