National authorities on Monday proposed a new amendment to the California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA), which would allow consumers to sue businesses that violate the new law. At present, consumers can only file a lawsuit if they are victims of a data breach and only when the state Department of Justice has decided to do not sue on behalf of consumers.
The CCPA, adopted in 2018 and effective in 2020, is the most stringent privacy legislation in the United States. It is also the first law in the country that gives people control over the use of their personal data.
The main provisions of the law prohibit companies from discriminating against consumers who exercise their rights and compel them to disclose how they collect and share their data. It also allows consumers to request the deletion of their data and allows users to opt out of the sale or sharing of their personal data.
The proposed amendment would give people more opportunities to pursue their own resolution in court for any violation of the CACP.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson unveiled the amendment at a press conference in Sacramento on Monday afternoon.
"Yes [companies are] By violating your right, they are probably violating the rights of many other people, "Jackson said. The purpose of this litigation is not to punish this behavior, but to dissuade it. It is to ensure that these companies comply with the law. If there is no punishment, if there is no responsibility, they will continue to do so because it brings them money. "
James P. Steyer, CEO of Common Sense, a non-profit organization that promotes the use of safe technologies, said the amendment would ease the burden of enforcing and monitoring violations obligations of the Attorney General.
"Companies with infinite resources will do everything in their power to make it difficult for the GA," Steyer said in a statement. "By giving consumers the right to act so as to empower bad actors in the event of invasion of their privacy, this law adds to the CCPA the power to enforce the rules and common Sense strongly supports it. "
The amendment would also remove the current 30-day waiting period for companies to attempt to remedy a violation and remove all publicly exposed data to avoid penalties.
In addition, under this amendment, companies would no longer be able to apply to the Department of Justice for a "free" legal opinion on compliance with the Privacy Act – an advantage included in the original Act. on the protection of privacy.
"The California Department of Justice serves California and its 40 million residents collectively," said Becerra. "We are protecting them and their rights, we are not giving free legal advice, which would mean free legal advice for this company at taxpayer expense."
The amendment would instead authorize the Attorney General's office to issue general guidelines for companies that comply with the CACP and to which anyone could access.
California is the first state to have legislation similar to the CCPA, but other states use it as a potential framework for the adoption of their own privacy laws.
Congress is also considering a national law that would deal with consumers' right to protect their data. While businesses lobbied for a law that would cancel the CCPA, state lawmakers urged Congress not to override protections afforded consumers by law.