California Privacy Initiative webinar explains privacy rights

Consumer Action hosted a webinar last month about how Californians can exercise their rights under the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).
Published: Sunday, June 05, 2022

By Nelson Santiago

Consumer Action hosted a webinar last month about how Californians can exercise their rights under the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), a groundbreaking law that protects state residents against privacy violations by businesses with annual gross revenues of more than $25 million; that buy, receive or sell the personal information of 50,000 or more California residents per year; or that make at least half of their annual revenue from selling California residents' personal information. The webinar is part of the California Privacy Initiative, a joint project of Consumer Action and the Consumer Federation of America.

The webinar was designed as a train-the-trainer geared to community-based educators and advocates. The expert guest speakers were Hayley Tsukayama, senior legislative activist with the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a national nonprofit defending digital privacy, free speech and innovation; Girard Kelly, senior counsel and director of the privacy program for Common Sense Media, a leading children's privacy group; and Stacey Schesser, supervising deputy attorney general for the privacy unit in the California Attorney General’s (AG) consumer protection office. Susan Grant, senior fellow at the Consumer Federation of America, joined Consumer Action's Linda Williams in leading an interactive quiz based on Consumer Action and CFA's "Survey Report: Too Many Californians Are Still Unaware of Privacy Rights." (Click here to read the report.)

Tsukayama provided an overview of consumers’ key rights under the CCPA as well as some background information about what privacy law looked like before passage of the CCPA. She explained, for example, that prior to the CCPA, privacy laws protected data in specific situations that might be narrow in their scope, such as information a patient shared with a doctor. Yet, when a consumer shared the same information with a company like Google or Amazon, such as through a fitness app or web search, the information would not be covered by medical privacy laws. This is why laws like the CCPA are very important, Tsukayama explained: They take a much broader approach to protecting privacy. Tsukuyama discussed key CCPA rights, including the right to know what personal information companies have about you, the right to delete that information, and the right to tell companies not to sell your information. She also described new rights taking effect in 2023, when CCPA amendments under the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA) will allow consumers to correct inaccurate personal information and to opt out of use and disclosure of "sensitive" personal information, a new category of data under the CPRA.

Common Sense's Kelly was on hand to provide details about how the CCPA and CPRA impact kids and families. He explained, for example, that a business cannot sell the data of children under the age of 16. However, a parent or guardian may opt in to the sale of data of their child under 13; and teens over the age of 13 but under the age of 16 can opt in on their own to the sale of their data. Kelly recommended resources for learning more and for help with exercising CCPA privacy rights. These included Common Sense Media's website, which consumers can use to request that companies not sell their personal data.

The webinar was rounded out by the California AG’s Schesser, who discussed how her office has been enforcing the CCPA, as well as how consumers can be more engaged as the new California Privacy Protection Agency moves forward with formal rulemaking. Schesser encouraged webinar participants to file complaints with the AG’s office if they believe a business is in violation of the CCPA. She also explained that consumers can use the attorney general’s privacy tool to generate their own notices to businesses about violations of the CCPA. These notices could later be used by the AG to show that the business had notice of the violation.

The webinar presented much more valuable information about Californians’ privacy rights—watch it here. You can help support our work by subscribing to Consumer Action's YouTube channel.




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