In the face of increasing incidences of and rising public concern regarding identity theft, the California Legislature is considering a bill with new personal information data disclosure requirements for California businesses and a broad definition of what constitutes personal information.

California Assembly Bill 1291, would require businesses who have customer personal information and have disclosed such information to provide each such customer with notice of the names and contact information of all third parties who received personal information from the business and provide a designated request address at which to receive requests from customers as provided for under the bill. Additionally, the business must make available, free of charge, access to or copies of all of the customer’s personal information that the business holds. Also, if the business has any online privacy policies, each privacy policy must also include a statement of the customer’s rights as provided in the legislation and a designated request address.

Personal information broadly includes, but is not limited to, any of the following: (1) identity information such as real name, alias, nickname, and user name; (2) address information, including but not limited to, postal address, e-mail, internet protocol address; (3) telephone number; (4) account name; (5) social security number or other government-issued identification number, such as a driver’s license number, identification card number, and passport number; (6) birthdate or age; (7) physical characteristic information such as height and weight; (8) sexual information, including but not limited to, sexual orientation, sex, gender status, gender identity, and gender expression; (9) race or ethnicity; (10) religious affiliation or activity; (11) political affiliation or activity; (12) professional or employment-related information; (13) educational information; (14) medical information; (15) financial information; (16) commercial information; (17) location information; (18) internet or mobile activity information; (19) content including text, photographs, audio or video recordings, or other material generated by or provided by the customer; and (20) any of the above information as it relates to the customer’s children.

Customer is defined as an individual who is a resident of California and provides personal information to a business “in the course of purchasing, viewing, accessing, renting, leasing, or otherwise using real or personal property, or any interest therein, or obtaining a product or service from the business including advertising or any other content.” Customers also include individuals for whom the business obtained personal information from another business. Accordingly, the bill would cover individuals who are not traditionally thought of as customers and may also include a business’ employees.

All businesses, including employers, with operations in California or with California customers must stay abreast of these developments and, given the breadth of personal information implicated, no such business can be exempt from the requirements. In preparation for the passing of this or a similar bill, it is important to determine how customer personal information is disclosed and set forth a compliance plan to meet the pending disclosure and access requirements.