Coronavirus may delay enforcement of California's consumer privacy law
Multiple trade bodies sent the California attorney general a letter on Thursday asking the Golden State to push back its enforcement of the Consumer Privacy Protection Act from July of this year to January 2021.
The letter, which was penned by Dan Jaffe, group executive VP of government relations at the Association of National Advertisers, cites the novel coronavirus as the primary reason for delaying enforcement. The Interactive Advertising Bureau, 4As and UPS were among the 34 signatures on the letter.
“The tidal wave that is the coronavirus has tremendously impacted many companies,” Jaffe told Ad Age. “They are really struggling to meet the legal and marketing challenges of CCPA, but the coronavirus has turned this into a double whammy.”
Jaffe says prior to sending out today’s letter the ANA was already requesting an extension before the coronavirus had even gained traction in the U.S. “Many companies have spent millions to be in compliance,” he says, adding that CCPA is incomplete in its current form.
“Even though the CCPA went into effect in January, it remains a law with many open-ended questions,” Jessica Berman, principal product manager at SpotX, says. “The spirit of the joint industry request is valid and holds merit, but it goes beyond the threat of coronavirus. ... The regulation is still a draft."
There are other issues with CCPA. Loyalty rewards programs, for instance, might be illegal in their current form, but they may not be—it’s unclear as the attorney general has yet to clarify the matter, says Jaffe. Other problems also include a set of modifications made last week that significantly empower browser makers such as Apple Safari and Mozilla Firefox in shaping consumer privacy, according to Jaffe.
“I’d be astonished if the attorney general doesn’t slip the timeline to the end of the year,” says Tim Sleath, VP of product management and operations at VDX.tv, a video advertising technology company. “The next three months would have seen a lot of compliance work and contract updates take place, and that simply won't be a focus as companies fight for their own survival.”
To complicate matters, many privacy experts believe even stricter rules will be added into CCPA thanks to a new proposal that’s headed for the November 2020 ballot.
Jaffe says the lack of clarification from the California attorney general and the constant changes have placed many businesses in a disadvantageous position in trying to achieve compliance. “CCPA has turned into a moving target," he says. "And when the target is always moving, you’re going to eventually miss.”