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California Consumer Privacy Act: A Comprehensive Overview

California Consumer Privacy Act: A Comprehensive Overview

The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) is a landmark piece of legislation that aims to strengthen privacy rights and consumer protection for the residents of California. This legislation was enacted in June 2018 and became effective as of January 2020. In November of 2020, California the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA) was approved, which amended the CCPA and added new additional privacy protections that began on January 1, 2023. This legislation applies to any business (or for-profit entity) that operates in California and also meets at least one of the following criteria – has annual gross revenues which exceed $25 million; buys, receives, sells, or shares the personal information of 100,000 or more  California residents, households, or devices; or earns 50% or more of its annual revenue from selling California residents’ personal information.


The CCPA empowers California residents with control over their personal information collected by businesses.


The CCPA gives California residents control over their personal information collected by businesses. It ensures new privacy rights for California consumers, such as the right to know, delete, and opt-out of the sale or sharing of their personal information, the right to correct inaccurate personal information and limit the use and disclosure of sensitive personal information and the right to non-discrimination when exercising their CCPA rights. . Businesses subject to the CCPA are responsible for responding to consumer requests to exercise these rights and for providing notices explaining their privacy practices.


The CCPA primarily aims to enhance data transparency and consumer privacy, requiring businesses to conduct detailed data inventories in order to accurately respond to consumer requests.


CCPA compliance may seem complex. However, it is crucial to remember that the legislation’s primary objective is to promote transparency in data practices and protect consumers’ privacy rights. Understanding the scope of the CCPA with regard to your business is a good place to begin the journey to compliance. Once a business falls within the scope of the CCPA, it is imperative that this business remains in compliance. This will likely require conducting a comprehensive inventory to identify the personal information they collect, its usage, storage locations, and the parties it is shared or sold with. This data mapping is crucial for accurately responding to consumer requests for data access or deletion and for understanding the scope of the requirements that may apply to you. In cases where businesses engage with a service provider or contractor, which would be the CCPA equivalent to the role of the processor under the GDPR, the two parties must implement a data processing agreement which outlines the type and purpose of the data processing. Only data necessary and relevant for the services must be collected. In addition, they must implement secure measures to protect the personal information collected and processed. 


It may also be necessary to update the privacy policies. This includes providing a description of consumers’ rights under the CCPA, outlining the methods for submitting requests, and listing the categories of personal information the business has collected, sold, or disclosed within the last 12 months. Businesses must establish procedures for responding to consumer requests, which involves making available the relevant means for the exercise of these rights, verifying the identity of the requester as necessary and responding within the stipulated 45 day period. Employee training will be critical in this process. Employees handling consumer inquiries need to be well-versed in the business’s privacy practices and how to guide consumers to exercise their rights under the CCPA. It is also paramount to protect consumer data by implementing reasonable security measures. This is to ensure protection against unauthorised access, disclosure, or destruction of consumers’ personal information.


CCPA compliance allows businesses to secure consumer trust and avoid substantial fines, as well as possible damages from data breaches.


It should be noted that apart from being a legal requirement , the CCPA  also presents an opportunity for businesses to build trust with their customers. Demonstrating a commitment to data privacy can differentiate a business within a competitive marketplace, enhancing its reputation and customer relationships. While the journey to CCPA compliance may require time and resources, the benefits of enhanced consumer trust and potential avoidance of hefty fines make it a worthwhile investment for SMBs. There are also notable consequences for non-compliance. The CCPA allows for civil penalties of up to $7,500 per intentional violation and $2,500 for unintentional violations. There may also be statutory damages in the event of data breaches. 

If you are a small or medium sized business, looking to ensure compliance with the CCPA or other data protection regulations, Aphaia can help. Our team of experts can provide external DPO services to help you achieve compliance and improve your data protection practices. Contact Aphaia today to find out more.

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