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January 2, 2020, Article

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Experts help break down California’s new privacy laws

Originally published in Campaign Magazine.

Digital-marketing gurus share their insights with Campaign US.

As the California Consumer Privacy Act comes into effect January 1, it is both under question and under renovation.

The law mandates that California residents know what personal data is being collected and to whom it is sold or disclosed. It further allows people to access their personal data, stop the sale of it, have companies delete it and then not be discriminated against for asserting their privacy rights.

The act is considered to encompass the toughest privacy laws in the country.

Yet, Alistair Mctaggart, the wealthy Bay Area real-estate developer, whose 2018 petition was headed for the voting booth when the California state legislature passed a pre-emptive  privacy law, is already promoting a new ballot initiative for a beefed-up version. His concern is that lobbyists will water down privacy rights.

Mctaggart’s take-two includes strengthening people’s control over data about race, health, finances, their social security numbers and location tracking. Companies that wrongly track and sell data about minors would be stiffly penalized.

Meanwhile, Facebook, one of the behemoth data merchants the law was targeting all along, has indicated it may not even need to comply with CCPA. Facebook posits that its routine “transfer” of data may not be construed as selling data.

“We’re watching to see the first litigation here, for someone to set a precedent for how CCPA will be interpreted and who will be targeted,” said Jess Barkley, vice president of data-driven marketing at Barkley, the independent Kansas City-based agency.

Campaign reached out to Best and other CCPA stakeholders and reviewed new research on privacy to gauge if the law will click by much like the GDPR opt-ins or herald real changes in the marketing business.

The industry already has the know-how to solve this, according to Daniel Sepulveda, SVP of Policy & Advocacy for MediaMath, in New York City. Sepulveda served as deputy assistant secretary in the Obama State Department, where his work covered digital economy and internet governance. 

The tech for enabling the exercise of consumer rights under CCPA exists, it just needs to be modified for that purpose. We, as people and an industry, must solve for the law’s purpose – to increase consumer control and understanding of the use of their data. This is particularly important for those of us in the digital advertising industry because our ecosystem is complex, interconnected, and somewhat opaque.

We believe that a compliance solution requires four key elements:

1) Surfacing to consumers the fact that the company they are directly interacting with and third party companies are engaged in the collection and sale of their personal information when that is happening,

2) Ensuring that consumers have the option to bar any or all of them from “selling” (as CCPA defines it) that information,

3) Signaling those choices to the rest of the ecosystem, and

4) Creating legally binding obligations on all participants to respect those choices.

As for how consumers will react to these laws, Sepulveda continues:

The law recognizes that in the modern economy data flows between firms all the time. This law and the conversation around it creates an opportunity to better inform consumers on how those transfers work. Consumers will tend to consent less and opt out more, particularly in the beginning, because they may believe there is no downside to doing so.

If publishers wish to continue processing consumers’ personal data in order to monetize their content, and if advertisers wish to continue delivering targeted advertisements to individuals or measuring the effectiveness of contextual ads, then both parties will need to adapt their messaging to consumers to demonstrate the value consumers receive from the processing of their personal data (i.e., access to lower-cost or free content and services they would otherwise have to pay for).

Third-party data will continue to be under pressure, especially where the sources of the data and the level of transparency and control provided to users over the use of that data remains murky.

First-party data will continue to be king, as direct relationships with consumers are increasingly favored by law, self-regulation, brands, publishers, and consumers themselves. More direct relationships allow for better consumers experiences and tend to provide users with more transparency and control over how their data is collected and used.

Read the rest of the article here.

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