The CCPA: What It Is, What It Means, and What You Can Do

The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) raises the bar on consumer privacy, but since the bar is already set so low, does it really matter? Yes. Here’s what it is, what it means, and what you can do.

As businesses touched by the new California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) rushed to meet their notification deadlines, our inboxes filled with cookie-cutter notifications of updated privacy policies. California, the 5th largest economy IN THE WORLD, is a global financial force. Any business doing business in California or with residents of the state must abide, starting 01 January 2020, with this new law that allows consumers to know what data a company collects about them and to have that data deleted upon request.

(Read or listen to “California Rings in the New Year with a New Data Privacy Law” at NPR)

This is a state law with reach limited, realistically, to the length of the arms of California’s courts. And note that this law does not apply to the state government of California—its DMV makes $75 million annually selling its data to third parties. But the new law signals a move in the right direction—toward increased privacy and, perhaps, a federal law.

What You Can Do

You, your devices, and even your children are still being tracked under this law. If you don’t opt out, your data are still collected, stored, and sold. So opt out. Every bit you decrease your digital footprint matters to you and your business.

Opt out for your personal data and your business data. As a freelancer/solo consultant, your personal digital footprint is hopelessly intertwined with your business’s accounts, identity, and reputation–and vice versa. Your reputation is likely the most valuable asset your business has. Simultaneously protecting your personal and business data provides synergistic protection of your reputation as a professional clients can trust with their data and intellectual property.

If you have children, protecting their data gives them a great gift—full agency over their own privacy once they reach adulthood.

Not convinced data collection really invades your privacy and security–and your children’s? Check out these recent pieces from The New York Times, One Nation, Tracked, and The Washington Post, Colleges are turning students’ phones into surveillance machines, tracking the locations of hundreds of thousands. The latter left me shook, in part because my alma mater—Indiana University—is one of the schools featured in the article, and one of the more than 40 across the nation applying this Orwellian technology to its students. If I may editorialize: Not cool, IU. Not cool.