January 16, 2020

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My Business Is In Arizona, Why Do I Care About California Privacy Laws? How the CCPA Impacts Arizona Businesses

Arizona businesses are not typically concerned about complying with the newest California laws going into effect. However, one California law in particular—the CCPA or California Consumer Privacy Act—has a scope that extends far beyond California’s border with Arizona. Indeed, businesses all over the world that have customers or operations in California must now be mindful of whether the CCPA applies to them and, if so, whether they are in compliance. 

What is the CCPA?
The CCPA is a comprehensive data privacy regulation enacted by the California Legislature that became effective on January 1, 2020. It was passed on September 13, 2018 and has undergone a series of substantive amendments over the past year and a few months.

Generally, the CCPA gives California consumers a series of rights with respect to how companies acquire, store, use, and sell their personal data. The CCPA’s combination of mandatory disclosures and notices, rights of access, rights of deletion, statutory fines, and threat of civil lawsuits is a significant move towards empowering consumers to control their personal data. 

Many California businesses are scrambling to implement the necessary policies and procedures to comply with the CCPA in 2020. In fact, you may have begun to notice privacy notices on the primary landing page for national businesses. However, Arizona businesses cannot assume that the CCPA stops at the Arizona border.

Does the CCPA apply to my business in Arizona?
The CCPA has specific criteria for whether a company is considered a California business. The CCPA applies to for-profit businesses “doing business in the State of California” that also:

  • Have annual gross revenues in excess of twenty-five million dollars; or
     
  • Handle data of more than 50,000 California consumers or devices per year; or
     
  • Have 50% or more of revenue generated by selling California consumers’ personal information
     

The CCPA does not include an express definition of what it means to be “doing business” in California. While it will take courts some time to interpret the scope of the CCPA, any business with significant sales, employees, property, or operations in California should consider whether the CCPA might apply to them. 
 
How do I know if I am collecting a consumer’s personal information?
“Personal information” under the CCPA generally includes any information that “identifies, relates to, describes, is capable of being associated with, or could reasonably be linked” with a specific consumer. As the legalese of this definition implies, “personal information” includes a wide swath of data that your company may already be collecting about consumers. 

There is no doubt that personal identifiers like name, address, email addresses, social security numbers, etc. are personal information. But information like biometric data, search and browsing activity, IP addresses, purchase history, and professional or employment-related information are all expressly included under the CCPA’s definition. Moreover, the broad nature of the CCPA means that other categories of data collected—although not expressly identified by the CCPA—may be deemed to be “personal information” in an enforcement action.

What can I do to comply with the CCPA?
If the CCPA might apply to your company, now is the time to take action. Compliance will necessarily be different for each business depending on the nature of its operation and the use(s) of personal information. However, there are some common steps that each company can take.

The first step towards compliance with the CCPA is understanding what data your company collects, how it is stored, whether it is transferred or sold, and whether any vendors or subsidiaries also have access to the data. Next, an organization should prepare a privacy notice that complies with the CCPA to post on its website and include in its app interface. 

The most substantial step in complying with the CCPA is to develop and implement policies and procedures that help the company conform to the various provisions of the CCPA. The policies will need to provide up-front disclosures to consumers, allow consumers to opt-out, handle consumer requests to produce or delete personal information, and guard against any perceived discrimination against consumers that exercise rights under the CCPA.

The company will also need to review contracts with third-party service providers and vendors to ensure it can comply with the CCPA. For example, if a third-party cloud service will be storing personal information, the company will want to verify that its contract allows it to assemble and produce that information within statutory deadlines if requested by a consumer.

At least you have some time!
The good news is that the CCPA includes a grace period until July 1, 2020 before the California Attorney General can bring enforcement actions. Thus, Arizona businesses that may have ignored the quirky California privacy law to this point have a window to bring their operations into compliance. However, Arizona companies that may need to comply with the CCPA should consult with counsel as soon as possible to begin the process. The attorneys at Ryley Carlock & Applewhite are ready to help you analyze your risk and comply with the CCPA.
 

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