On January 1, 2014, California’s Online Privacy Protection Act was updated to include changes that will impact nearly every US business managing a commercial website that collects consumer personally identifiable information[i] (PII).
The amendment includes two important changes. The first is to disclose how an operator responds to the “Do Not Track” signals available in most commercial web browsers (such as Microsoft Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Apple Safari and Mozilla Firefox). The second is a requirement to “disclose whether other parties may collect PII about an individual consumer’s online activities over time and across different Web sites when a consumer uses the operator’s Web site or service.”
As web technology evolves consumers have increasingly become concerned about how their online actions and PII are managed, processed, and tracked. California’s changes require website operators to be more transparent on their practices, so consumers can make informed decisions on how they will browse and what PII they are willing to share.
Further, as web sites incorporate rapidly changing ad networks and behavioral based ad targeting, California requires greater transparency in identifying what types of PII are tracked through online activities over time and across multiple web sites and then shared with other third parties.
- Does our website take any action based on user Do Not Track requests?
- What, if any, first-party (i.e., placed by us) tracking features does our web site incorporate?
- What, if any, third-party (i.e., someone other than us) tracking features does our website incorporate?
- What, if any, information do we collect on our website regarding a user’s online activities over time and across different web sites or online services (such as behavioral advertising or targeted ad-serving)?
- What, if any, information do we allow third-parties to collect on our web site regarding a user’s online activities over time and across different web sites or online services (such as behavioral advertising or targeted ad-serving)?
- How do we manage mobile applications and websites with regards to Do Not Track requests, tracking, and information sharing with third parties?
Organizations operating a website processing PII on California consumers must understand its internal practices around Do Not Track, website tracking capabilities, and third party data collection and update its privacy policies in a timely and appropriate manner.