Five Most Frequently Asked Questions About The California Consumer Privacy Act

Consumer privacy concerns are at an all-time high with the advent of corporate digitalization and the way more and more businesses are moving online to cater to millions of customers across the globe. 

These digital businesses most often require names, email addresses, and other personally identifiable information (PII) to carry out their current and future operations. However, transmitting, storing, or sharing this information without proper safeguards can result in disastrous consequences in a security incident.

This is why strong compliance laws that protect consumer privacy have become the need of the hour for global organizations. One such security framework is the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). The CCPA has given the people of California more control over the personal information companies hold about them. This extensive privacy rule has broad ramifications for companies operating in California, the rest of the United States, and even abroad.   

This blog will discuss the five most frequently asked questions about CCPA and its guidelines to clarify its provisions and illuminate its implications. Whether you’re an individual looking to understand your privacy rights or a business owner navigating compliance requirements, this blog will provide the answers you need to understand to comply with the CCPA laws.

But first, let’s discuss the CCPA in brief.

What is the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)?

The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) is a data privacy legislation specifically developed for the residents of California to protect consumer privacy. It is the first of its kind in the US and was signed by Governor Jerry Brown in 2018 before finally coming to effect in 2020. This groundbreaking legislation gives every Californian the same rights and safeguards as the innovative General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) law of the European Union, which took effect in 2018. 

This data privacy law, among other rights, safeguards, and rules, is distinguished by its dual emphasis on:

  • Consumer Rights: Consumers are entitled to know what personal information is gathered, utilized, and shared with third parties under the CCPA. Furthermore, they also have the right to access their data, have it deleted, and, most significantly, choose not to sell it for money or other valuable consideration.
  • Business Restrictions: Regardless of location, any businesses that collect, keep, or sell consumer data of California residents are subject to the CCPA, which is similar to the GDPR.

Now, let’s delve into the most important things you need to know about the CCPA guidelines.

Five Most Frequently-Asked Questions About CCPA

  1. Who Does the CCPA Apply To? 

Californians are protected by the CCPA and are referred to as “consumers” regardless of whether they are actively residing in the state.

The CCPA imposes requirements on “businesses” with headquarters in or outside of California that gather personal data about residents of the state of California and meet at least one of three criteria:

  • Gross sales of more than $25 million each year;
  • Handling (purchasing, selling, etc.) the personal data of more than 50,000 CA residents each year, whether they be individuals, families, or devices; and,
  • Receives at least 50% of its annual revenue from the sale of the personal data of California customers.
  1. What Rights Must Companies Enable Under the CCPA?

The CCPA mandates, among other things, that regulated businesses that gather, utilize, transfer, and sell personal information do the following:

  • Before collecting data, let customers know what categories and reasons will be used.
  • Provide thorough disclosures in a privacy policy about the sources, corporate goals, and categories of personal data collected and how those categories are sold or given to other organizations.
  • Enable consumer rights to the precise types of personal data you have acquired, including access, deletion, and portability.
  • Enable a control that would let customers choose not to have their data sold. Transfers to service providers, for example, continue to be allowed in some circumstances.
  • Enable an opt-in process for youngsters under 16 so that no personal information can be sold without their express consent.
  • Ensure no discrimination is experienced by customers who exercise their CCPA rights.
  1. What are the Disclosures Required Under the CCPA Laws?

The CCPA mandates the following Disclosures:

  • The categories of consumer personal data that have been gathered;
  • the source types used in the collection;
  • the commercial or business goals behind the collection;
  • The types of outside parties who are shared personal information;
  • The categories of third parties to whom each variety of personal information was sold, as well as the categories of personal information that have been sold;
  • The types of third parties to whom each category of personal information was transmitted, as well as categories of personal information that have been disclosed for a business purpose (i.e., transferred but not sold); and,
  • The particular personal data that has been gathered about that specific customer.
  1. Can Companies Refuse to Comply with a Consumer’s Request?

Yes, in some circumstances. Unless certain conditions are met, businesses must abide by customer demands under the CCPA. For instance, a company is not compelled to accede to a consumer’s request to erase their personal information if doing so would be necessary for the business to maintain the consumer’s personal information. 

The law outlines the circumstances, such as to fulfill a legal requirement, identifying security issues, and more, in which it is necessary to retain a consumer’s information. Consider all customer requests using the procedure you’ve created to be on the safe side. Make sure you can decline to comply on a case-by-case basis by speaking with your legal counsel. 

  1. How is the CCPA Different From the GDPR?

There are numerous differences between CCPA and GDPR. It is simpler to concentrate on the parallels, such as

  • requirements for disclosure and transparency; and,
  • data access, erasure, and copyrights for consumers, etc.

Service providers are defined in the GDPR in a manner similar to how processors are defined, and a comparable legal requirement binds them. In contrast, Businesses are defined to include controllers under the GDPR.

A major difference is the primary CCPA requirement to offer an opt-out from data sales to third parties, with sales broadly defined to encompass sharing of data for valuable consideration. Compared to the expansive GDPR right to object to processing, which includes this form of sale but is not precisely confined to covering this type of sharing, this responsibility is more granular and particular.

CCPA Compliance Readiness with Akitra!

Establishing trust is a crucial competitive differentiator when courting new SaaS businesses in today’s era of data breaches and compromised privacy. Customers and partners want assurances that their organizations are doing everything possible to prevent disclosing sensitive data and putting them at risk, and compliance certification fills that need.

Akitra offers an industry-leading, AI-powered Compliance Automation platform for SaaS companies. Using automated evidence collection and continuous monitoring, together with a full suite of customizable policies and controls as a compliance foundation, our compliance automation platform and service help our customers prepare readiness for the CCPA compliance standard, along with other security frameworks like SOC 1, SOC 2, HIPAA, GDPR, PCI DSS, ISO 27001, ISO 27701, ISO 27017, ISO 27018, NIST CSF, NIST 800-53, NIST 800-171, FedRAMP, CMMC, and more such as CIS AWS Foundations Benchmark, etc. In addition, companies can use Akitra’s Risk Management product for overall risk management for your company, Trust Center, and AI-based Automated Questionnaire Response product to streamline and expedite security questionnaire response processes delivering huge cost savings. Our compliance and security experts will provide customized guidance to navigate the end-to-end compliance process confidently. 

The benefits of our solution include enormous savings in time, human resources, and cost savings, including discounted audit fees with our audit firm partners. Customers achieve compliance certification fast and cost-effectively, stay continuously compliant as they grow, and can become certified under additional frameworks using a single compliance automation platform.

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