The California Attorney General unveiled its data broker registry on Monday.  On or before January 31st, companies qualifying as a “data broker” based on the prior year’s activities are required to register their name and contact information with the Attorney General and may provide a statement concerning their data collection practices.  A

The January 1, 2020 effective date of the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) has come and gone, but questions about how to comply with the law show no hint of disappearing.  As companies move past their efforts to comply with the law’s most visible requirement – providing notice at the point of collection and explaining data practices in a full privacy policy – the focus is sharpening on a broad array of operational and implementation questions.

While Attorney General Xavier Becerra has indicated his office will prioritize enforcement relating to the sale of minors’ personal information, will direct enforcement efforts at companies that are not showing a willingness to comply, and will not make major changes before finalizing the proposed regulations, the Attorney General has not fielded specific questions about how to implement the law.  This state of affairs has left companies scrambling to benchmark their compliance practices against competitors and the industry at large.

In this post, we provide some insights on common questions we are hearing about how to comply with the CCPA in the absence of clear guidance or precedent.  Of course, every company is different and companies should always consult with a privacy attorney before deciding on the best way to comply with the CCPA.

Why are so many companies posting a “Do Not Sell My Info” (DNSMI) button on their website if they do not sell personal information in exchange for money?

Companies that post a DNSMI button but do not sell personal information for money likely have determined that their provision of personal information to ad tech companies in connection with interest-based advertising is a “sale.”  Accordingly, they post the DNSMI button to enable consumers to opt out of these “sales.”

The question of whether, and under what circumstances, the use of third-party cookies, pixels, tags, etc. constitutes a “sale” and how to provide DNSMI choices is a flashpoint in the debate over how to interpret the CCPA (as discussed here, here, and here).  There is a growing consensus that only a lawsuit or a government enforcement action will resolve this matter.

For now, two ways of analyzing this question are emerging.  One position concludes that data collected via a third-party cookie, tag, or pixel may be a potential “sale” because the company adding that cookie, tag, or pixel to its website sends, makes available, or otherwise shares personal information to an ad tech provider in exchange for services, and, critically, where that provider does not restrict its use or sharing of that personal information for the provider’s or other entities’ commercial benefit (other than for a limited number of exempted purposes).

The other position is that the third party directly collects personal information via the cookie, tag, or pixel placed on a publisher’s website, and the publisher is not selling that personal information to the third party responsible for the tracker.

Each business, however, will need to evaluate, on a case-by-case basis, whether its interest-based advertising, analytics, and other forms of tracking may constitute a sale under the CCPA.  Often this starts with categorizing  the types of vendors and partners (i.e. ad tech, analytics, or other services); identifying each specific vendor or partner responsible for the tracker on the business’s site(s); and reviewing the vendor or provider’s publicly posted terms, privacy policy, and contract with the business, if there is one, to determine if the transfer of personal information to the vendor could reasonably qualify as a transfer for a business purpose to a service provider, or other exemption, or whether the transfer is likely a “sale.”

When can a business claim that its ad tech partner and purchased ad tech services are exempt from the “sale” provisions of the CCPA?

The CCPA provides an exemption from the definition of a “sale” when a business uses or shares with a “service provider” personal information of a consumer that is necessary and proportionate to perform a “business purpose.”  As a result, companies may want to determine (1) whether an ad tech vendor is a “service provider” and (2) whether that vendor performs its ad tech service for a “business purpose.”  Examining specific arrangements with each advertising partner is the best way to address this question and for each of the relevant services provided by the vendor.

Some of the major players in online advertising have laid down public markers that can be helpful in classifying interest-based advertising activities.  Examples include:
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As the 45-day period for public comments on proposed regulations to implement the California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”) draws to a close (comments must be submitted by 5:00 pm Pacific time on December 6), we share this report from the second of four public hearings that the Attorney General’s Office is holding this week.  Deputy

California is not the only state focused on privacy.  The New Jersey Attorney General’s Office recently emphasized how the Office is prioritizing its enforcement of such issues. Over its first year, the newly-created Data Privacy & Cybersecurity Section within the New Jersey Division of Law has initiated its own actions and joined several multi-state investigations. 

As privacy and personal data issues continue to be a focus of both legal action and media coverage, privacy policy statements are getting dusted off and reviewed by more eyes.  Imprecise or inaccurate policy statements, themselves, can expose a company to potential liability.  While most of the recent California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”) attention has

On Thursday, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra released draft regulations implementing the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). The regulations provide the first glimpse into how the Attorney General interprets the sprawling law, which is slated to go into effect on January 1.

The new regulations cover seven topics:

  1. Notices to Consumers: The draft regulations clarify

Effective January 1, 2020, New Hampshire’s new Insurance Data Security Law will impose certain information security requirements on entities that (1) are licensed under the state’s insurance laws and (2) handle “nonpublic information.” “Nonpublic information” is defined as information that is not publicly available and falls into one of the two following categories:

  1. Information that

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) released a preview of its plans for a standard Privacy Framework this past week.  The purpose of the Framework is to help organizations better manage privacy risks.

The Privacy Framework would breakdown privacy functions into five categories: identify the context of processing, protect private data, control data

Last week, five advertising and marketing trade associations jointly filed comments with the California Attorney General seeking clarification on provisions within the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).

While expressing “strong support” for the CCPA’s intent, and noting the online ad industry’s longstanding consumer privacy efforts like the DAA’s YourAdChoices Program, the group proposed the

On Monday, France’s Data Protection Agency announced that it levied a €50 million ($56.8 million) fine against Google for violating the EU’s new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).  The precedent-setting fine by the Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés (“CNIL”) is the highest yet imposed since the new law took effect in May 2018.

How Does Google Violate GDPR, According to CNIL?

  • Lack of Transparency: GDPR Articles 12-13 require a data controller to provide data subjects with transparent, intelligible, and easily accessible information relating to the scope and purpose of the personal data processing, and the lawful basis for such processing. CNIL asserts that Google fails to meet the required level of transparency based on the following:
    • Information is not intelligible: Google’s description of its personal data processing and associated personal data categories is “too generic and vague.”
    • Information is not easily accessible: Data subjects must access multiple Google documents or pages and take a number of distinct actions (“5 or 6”) to obtain complete information on the personal data that Google collects for personalization purposes and geo-tracking.
    • Lawful basis for processing is unclear: Data subjects may mistakenly view the legal basis for processing by Google as legitimate interests (that does not require consent) rather than individual consent.
    • Data retention period is not specified: Google fails to provide information on the period that it retains certain personal data.
  • Invalid Consent: Per GDPR Articles 5-7, a data controller relying on consent as the lawful basis for processing of personal data must be able to demonstrate that consent by a data subject is informed, specified, and unambiguous. CNIL claims that Google fails to capture valid consent from data subjects as follows:
    • Consent is not “informed”: Google’s data processing description for its advertising personalization services is diluted across several documents and does not clearly describe the scope of processing across multiple Google services, the amount of data processed, and the manner in which the data is combined.
    • Consent is not unambiguous: Consent for advertising personalization appears as pre-checked boxes.
    • Consent is not specific: Consent across all Google services is captured via consent to the Google Terms of Services and Privacy Policy rather than a user providing distinct consent for each Google personal data use case.

What Does This Mean for Other Companies?


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