Coalition Groups Weigh In on CCPA Clean Up Legislation

On June 29, the day after California Governor Jerry Brown signed the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) into law, Data Matters provided a summary of the important new legislation.  In doing so, we noted that the law was scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2020 and that, if and when it did, it would be the “broadest privacy law in the United States” and “may well have an outsize influence on privacy laws nationwide.”  Because of this, we further predicted that “[t]he coming months will no doubt stimulate considerable legislative and litigation activity to test the acceptability of [the CCPA’s] effects on interstate commerce, free speech, commercial innovation, reasonable regulatory burdens and meaningful privacy protection.”

It did not take long for this prediction to prove correct.  Bill Dodd, a California State Senator, has already made a bill (SB 1121) available to serve as a vehicle for “cleaning up” and amending the CCPA, and, in light of this, a coalition of nearly 40 industry groups recently sent a detailed letter to Dodd proposing changes to “address drafting errors” and “fix aspects of [the Act] that would be unworkable and that would result in negative consequences unintended by the authors.”  In particular, the letter proposes over 20 amendments, including, among many other things:

  • An amendment to the definition of “consumer” in order to clarify that the Act doesn’t cover data gathered from employees or as part of business to business interactions;
  • An amendment to the definition of “personal information” so that it is consistent with the notion of an identifiable person (and doesn’t expressly cover information that “relates to” or is “capable of being associated with” a particular consumer); and
  • A clarification of the Act’s private cause of action to make sure it reflects what the letter states was the intention of the drafters, i.e., to apply that provision only to violations of the Act’s data breach provision.

The letter provides an excellent insight into the first round of legislative debate on amending the CCPA, and is well worth a read to anyone interested in the Act and its future.