Proposed CCPA Opt-Out Regulations Violate First Amendment, Ad Industry Says

Newly proposed California privacy regulations that aim to make it relatively easy for consumers to opt out of the sale of their data would violate businesses' First Amendment rights, the advertising industry says.

The proposed regulations would “unreasonably restrict consumers from receiving important information about their privacy choices,” the Interactive Advertising Bureau, Association of National Advertisers, American Association of Advertising Agencies, Network Advertising Initiative, American Advertising Federation, and Digital Advertising Alliance say in an 8-page letter sent late Wednesday to California Attorney General Xavier Becerra's office.

California's privacy law, which took effect earlier this year, gives state residents the right to learn what information has been collected about them by companies, to have that information deleted, and to prevent the sale of that data to third parties.

Earlier this month, Becerra proposed a new set of regulations that would require businesses to offer opt-out methods that are “easy for consumers to execute” and that “require minimal steps.”

The proposed rules provide that businesses can't use methods designed to thwart someone's decision to opt out.

The rules would prohibit businesses from requiring people to take more steps to prevent the sale of their information than to agree to its sale -- and could prohibit businesses from requiring people to click through or listen to reasons why they should not opt out.

The ad industry groups say those prohibitions would violate businesses' First Amendment rights to provide truthful information to consumers.

"The CCPA regulations should not prevent consumers from receiving and businesses from providing full, fair, and accurate information during the opt out process," the groups write.  

“The proposed online and offline modifications unreasonably limit consumers’ ability to access accurate and informative disclosures about business practices as they engage in the opt out process,” the organizations add. “Providing ample and timely opportunities for consumers to gain knowledge about their choice to opt out is of paramount importance to avoid confusion and ignorance.”

The digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation previously said it supported the new proposal, arguing that it could guard against “manipulative user experience designs that businesses use to trick consumers into surrendering their personal data.”

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