On February 25, 2019, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson introduced Senate Bill 561, legislation intended to strengthen and clarify the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which was enacted in June of 2018. If enacted, this would be the second amendment to the CCPA, following an earlier amendment in September of 2018 that Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Senate Bill 1121, which also clarified and strengthened the original version of the law.

As we reported previously, the CCPA will apply to any entity that does business in the State of California and satisfies one or more of the following: (i) annual gross revenue in excess of $25 million, (ii) alone or in combination, annually buys, receives for the business’ commercial purposes, sells, or shares for commercial purposes, alone or in combination, the personal information of 50,000 or more consumers, households, or devices, or (iii) derives 50 percent or more of its annual revenues from selling consumers’ personal information. Under the CCPA, key consumer rights will include:

  • A consumer’s right to request deletion of personal information which would require the business to delete information upon receipt of a verified request;
  • A consumer’s right to request that a business that sells the consumer’s personal information, or discloses it for a business purpose, disclose the categories of information that it collects and categories of information and 3rd parties to which the information was sold or disclosed;
  • A consumer’s right to opt-out of the sale of personal information by a business and prohibiting the business from discriminating against the consumer for exercising this right, including a prohibition on charging the consumer who opts-out a different price or providing the consumer a different quality of goods or services, except if the difference is reasonably related to value provided by the consumer’s data.

SB 561’s amendments include:

  • Expands a consumer’s right to bring a private cause of action. Currently, the CCPA provides consumer a private right of action if their nonencrypted or nonredacted personal information is subject to an unauthorized access and exfiltration, theft, or disclosure because the covered business did not meet its duty to implement and maintain reasonable safeguards to protect that information. The amendment broadens this provision to grant consumers a private right of action if their rights under the CCPA are violated.
  • Removes language that allows businesses the opportunity to cure an alleged violation within 30-days after being notified of alleged noncompliance.
  • Removes language allowing a business or third party to seek the opinion of the Attorney General for guidance on how to comply with the law. Instead, the amendment specifies that the Attorney General may publish materials that provide businesses and others with general guidance on how to comply with the law.

With an effective date of January 1, 2020 (and regulations not yet proposed), it is expected that additional amendments will be negotiated, drafted, and published. Last month, the California Attorney General’s Office began the CCPA rulemaking process with a six-part series of public forums, allowing all interested persons the opportunity to provide their comments on the new law.

SB 561 comes just days after the AG Becerra together with Assemblymember Mark Levine announced Assembly Bill 1130 to strengthen California’s existing data breach notification law. No doubt, California is leading the way in U.S. data privacy and security law.