Whether privacy laws will lessen consumer concerns remains unknown

| Oct 21, 2020 | Business Litigation |

Sometimes it seems as though personalized shopping experiences fell by the virtual wayside as digital consumerism challenged brick-and-mortar establishments. Now that technology has a significant role in nearly every industry, the battle over data rages.

Multiple companies have publicly faced extensive legal action due to data privacy concerns. Yet, as you searched for directions, connected with friends or found the perfect holiday gift, you became the product.

Businesses continue to compete for information about you – your family, buying habits, income level, medical concerns, marital status…the list goes on. But while companies benefit financially from data mining, what control do you have over your personal information?

Oversight may prioritize inquiries over action

The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), the first broad data privacy law in the country, took effect in January. However, the legislation does not require companies to stop collecting or discontinue selling the personal information they collect.

Rather, it allows consumers to question businesses about:

  • What data they collect
  • The source categories from which they gather information
  • Why they buy or sell personal facts

Although the Act allows consumers the opportunity to inquire about the data a business gathers, questions remain about how far companies will, or must, go to provide clarity about the proverbial golden nuggets they extract.

Consumers have rights – kind of

In addition to asking a business about the information they’ve collected, you can request a hold on selling your personal data. Though, the potential exchange of value may be too vague to allow legal action.

Meanwhile, disputes remain about whether the right to ask an organization to delete your data could contend with free speech, security or other privacy laws protecting a business, such as HIPAA.

A lack of transparency: what are the consequences?

The CCPA may be an important step toward regaining privacy. However, time will tell how far consumers will go to hold companies accountable for alleged unethical data collection practices.

Alleged legal violations can be reported to the attorney general. But although consumers appear to have rights, it may be too soon to tell what price courts will attach to the vested interest companies have in you.

FindLaw Network