California AG Targets Mobile Apps Over Opt-Out Failures

In an “investigative sweep” announced Friday, California Attorney General Rob Bonta has sent letters to app operators that allegedly fail to allow consumers to opt out of sharing their data.

“This year’s sweep focuses on popular apps in the retail, travel, and food service industries that allegedly fail to comply with consumer opt-out requests or do not offer any mechanism for consumers who want to stop the sale of their data,” Bonta's office stated Friday.

Bonta added that the focus on mobile apps is due to “the wide array of sensitive information that these apps can access from our phones and other mobile devices.”

The investigative initiative also targeted businesses that didn't process requests consumers made through an authorized agent.

“Businesses must honor Californians’ right to opt out and delete personal information, including when those requests are made through an authorized agent,” Bonta stated Friday.



The California Consumer Privacy Act, which was passed in 2018 and later refined by the Consumer Privacy Rights Act, give consumers the right to tell companies not to share or sell their information for a host of purposes, including online behavioral advertising.

Regulations issued by former Attorney General Xavier Becerra require companies to honor global do-not-sell requests, as opposed to requiring individual site-by-site opt-outs. Last year, Bonta specifically directed companies to honor requests sent through the “Global Privacy Control" -- a tool developed by privacy advocates that enables web users to opt out of the sale of their information on a universal basis.

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