California is a leader in regulating consumer privacy and data security. As part of a multi-pronged effort to improve online privacy, the California Attorney General’s office established a new online form that allows individuals to report violations of the California Online Privacy Protection Act (“CalOPPA”). This “crowdsourced” tool seeks to greatly enhance the AG’s ability to enforce CalOPPA.
In a press release announcing the online form, the AG’s office emphasized the continuing need to protect Californians’ privacy in light of the growth of the Internet of Things and the lack of transparency exhibited by some technology companies. In particular, the AG’s office observed that some mobile apps employ data practices that are not properly disclosed to consumers, such as the sharing of personal information with third parties.
The complaint form allows consumers to report the following violations:
So what’s the bottom line? If you operate a commercial website, app, or other online service, and you collect personal information from California residents, you should confirm your compliance with CalOPPA. This includes:
- Assess whether you are providing reasonable security when protecting personal information of consumers.
Being proactive will reduce the likelihood of regulatory scrutiny and negative publicity, as the launch of this tool signals the California AG’s intent to crack down on CalOPPA violations. Plus, all websites and online services that collect and use information from consumers should review and, as needed, update their privacy policies regularly as part of appropriate privacy and security hygiene.