Digital advertising based on tracking users’ interests and related privacy concerns have been the subject of many recent news articles. What does this mean for businesses? Evolving industry practices and new legislation relating to online privacy and user tracking likely require changes to online privacy practices and policies.
On September 23, 2013, Governor Brown signed into law new Sections 22580 through 22582 of the California Business and Professions Code titled “Privacy Rights for California Minors in the Digital World.” The new law, which goes into effect January 1, 2015, requires an operator of a website (including online services and applications, such as a social media site) or mobile application that is “directed to minors” to allow minors (defined as anyone younger than 18 years old residing in California) who are registered users the opportunity to un-post or remove (or request removal of) their posted online content. The operator also must provide minors with notice and “clear instructions” about how to remove their posted content. The operator is not, however, required to remove posted content in certain specific circumstances, such as when the content was posted by a third party. This new law also prohibits website and mobile app operators from advertising to California minors certain products and services that minors cannot legally purchase, such as alcoholic beverages, firearms, ammunition, spray paint, tobacco products, fireworks, tanning services, lottery tickets, tattoos, drug paraphernalia, electronic cigarettes, “obscene matter” and lethal weapons. Operators also are prohibited from using, disclosing or compiling certain personal information about the minor for the purpose of marketing these products or services.