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An Overview of CCPA and Implications for Marketers

  • - Andrea Reichenbach
  • 3 min read

Did you know that the motto of the state of California is “Eureka?” Translated from the Greek word meaning “I have found it,” many believe it refers to the discovery of gold in the 1840s, resulting in a rush of hundreds of thousands of migrants who flocked to the region, eager to find their fortunes. It can be said this same entrepreneurial spirit still exists in Silicon Valley today, one that created an economic boon making California the world’s 5th largest GDP if it was a standalone country. And with 12% of the U.S. population, what happens in California matters. 

Sitting on the front lines of the thriving tech sector, it may not be surprising that a group called the Californians for Consumer Privacy, based in the San Francisco Bay Area, started calling attention to how much of the Valley’s recent success is underpinned by the use of consumer data. All the biggest brands, online communities, and apps we use every day are now data-driven, allowing for the development of new goods, services, and content that are helping redefine our modern society. And while some rigorous federal and state regulations are already in place to govern the use of personal information, it is fair to say the laws have not kept up with the pace of innovation.   

However, by introducing CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act) first as a ballot initiative, and then hurriedly withdrawing it in exchange for a quickly drafted law passed by the California Legislature in June 2018, CCPA has quickly created a cascade of issues that remain unresolved, even now, less than six months from the effective date of January 1, 2020. 

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra held a series of public hearings earlier this year to “promulgate regulations and solicit broad public participation to further the purposes of the CCPA.” While the AG is expected to issue regulations this Fall, questions still linger on how companies will come into compliance with the law, such as how to comply with consumer requests. Additionally, there are still amendments that will impact the type of personal information that falls under the scope of the statute.  

So what does this all mean for marketers? CCPA will affect what data will they be able to collect from consumers, along with how and what they will be able to do with it. Can they use data to create customer segments? Can they communicate with customers and prospects? Through what channels? What does this mean for the future of omnichannel marketing and the customer experience? CCPA will result in material consequences for both the marketer and the consumer. 

Looking ahead, what’s potentially more concerning for marketers is the precedent that CCPA sets for other states. The International Association for Privacy Professionals (IAPP) predicts that more than 500,000 U.S. companies will be affected by CCPA alone. But already a dozen or more states are looking to pass copycat privacy laws which would result in additional complications in the absence of a “one law to rule them all” federal version. Stay tuned. There will be much more to come.