COVID-19 Warrants Delaying Enforcement Of California Privacy Law, Ad Groups Say

The current outbreak of COVID-19 warrants delaying enforcement of California's new privacy law, dozens of organizations say in a letter sent this week to state Attorney General Xavier Becerra.

The landmark California Consumer Privacy Act gives consumers the right to learn what personal information about them is held by businesses, request deletion of that information, and opt out of its sale. 

The measure took effect in January, but enforcement is scheduled to begin until July 1.

The Association of National Advertisers, Interactive Advertising Bureau, American Association of Advertising Agencies and 32 other groups are asking Becerra to push back the enforcement deadline to Jan. 2, 2021.

“Now is not the time to threaten business leaders with premature CCPA enforcement lawsuits,” the organizations write. “A temporary deferral in enforcement of the CCPA would relieve many pressures and stressors placed on organizations due to COVID-19 and would better enable business leaders to make responsible decisions that prioritize the needs and health of their workforce over other matters.”

The groups add that creating new mechanisms to comply with the law is especially challenging now, given that many employees are now working from home.

“Developing innovative business procedures to comply with brand-new legal requirements is a formidable undertaking on its own, but it is an especially tall order when there are no dedicated, on-site staff available to build and test necessary new systems and processes,” the organizations write.

Some groups signing the letter previously asked for a delay in enforcement due to the complexity of the law. The organizations reiterate that argument now, adding that the regulations are still a work in progress.

“The content of the draft rules continues to evolve, and with each update made by the Office of the Attorney General, businesses’ compliance responsibilities materially and substantially change,” the letter states.

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