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California legislature passes a new Consumer Privacy Act

The California Consumer Privacy Act was approved for the November ballot in June, but before voters could attend the polls, Californian lawmakers passed a similar law, which emphasized similar messages to the privacy act.

According to Forbes, the new privacy legislation passed quickly through lawmakers to avoid specific language in the new law. If voters had approved the California Consumer Privacy Act in November, it would be more difficult for politicians to amend the law or change wording in the act itself.

Why does the wording matter? While the proposed legislation was very consumer friendly, it had significant implications for California businesses, especially those that rely on personal information.

The cost of doing business

The bill proposed for the November ballot required businesses to disclose to the consumer the categories and specific pieces of personal information the industry collected. It also gave the consumer the right to request companies delete any personal information about the consumer.

The legislation would impact large and small companies who collect any consumer personal information, and politicians saw future concerns with the vague definition of “personal information.” Is it as simple as a consumer’s name and birthdate or is it other sensitive materials such as addresses and phone numbers?

Businesses would also see a sharp increase in the cost of running the company. Although experts do not know an exact estimate, most agree that companies will need to implement new departments or positions to handle consumer requests. They may also have to alter websites or promotional materials to comply with the bill’s requirements.

Legislation tried to address the influx of consumer requests by letting companies offer incentives for the collection and deletion of personal information. However, it would only put the consumer in a better position and further damage companies that provide financial incentives.

The new law includes details about consumer privacy and business practices with personal information, but politicians can now efficiently address wording or definitions when concerns pop up in the future. Business owners or consumers can find more information about the privacy act on the California legislation website.