Regulation. Few industries need it applied to them more stringently than high technology, social media platforms in particular. Few industries are as free to set their own agendas today without regard to public safety.
California, following Europe’s lead, is tightening standards in an effort to protect its citizens’ privacy. The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) is a new data privacy law that establishes various rights for California state residents. The law goes into effect on January 1, 2020.
CCPA requires giving residents the right to opt-out of the “sale” of their “personal information” with the opt-out offered via a prominent “Do Not Sell My Personal Information” link on the “selling” party’s homepage. CCPA does recognize certain exceptions to the definition of “sale,” such that not all transfers of personal information are “sales.” For example, transferring personal information to a “service provider” under the law is not a sale.
If It Looks Like A Loophole…
If it sounds like a loophole and looks like a loophole, chances are good that it’s a loophole. One that Facebook, for one, is set to exploit. Facebook executives told its advertisers that they won’t need to change their web-tracking services to comply with the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), on the grounds that its use of data to target ads doesn’t constitute “selling” data. Facebook maintains that its site and app pixel tracking isn’t the same as selling data.
The law is frustratingly hazy on the issue, defining a “sale” as a transfer of data in exchange for monetary or other valuable consideration. Facebook’s stance on this issue could set up an early clash with the Golden State’s attorney general.
In related news, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra asked a state court in November to force Facebook to turn over key documents it has withheld in connection with an 18-month investigation into its privacy practices.
Alleging the social-media giant has “refused” to cooperate with officials, the filing in San Francisco County Superior Court outlines for the first time the extent of Becerra’s concerns that Facebook may have violated state law.
Google Is Not Perfect, But Google Is Not Facebook
Websites and apps using Google’s advertising tools will be able to block personalized ads to internet users in California and elsewhere as part of the Alphabet Inc unit’s effort to help them comply with California’s new privacy law.
It is unclear how many publisher and advertiser clients will enable the new restrictions, as interpretations of the law may vary.
FYI, businesses are subject to the CCPA if one or more of the following are true:
- Has gross annual revenues in excess of $25 million
- Buys, receives, or sells the personal information of 50,000 or more consumers, households, or devices
- Derives 50 percent or more of annual revenues from selling consumers’ personal information
- Businesses that handle the personal information of more than 4 million consumers will have additional obligations