Time to Follow Through on Promises to Fix the CCPA

Date: August 11, 2019

NFIB signs coalition letter to the California Legislature.

July 29, 2019

To: California Legislature

Re: Time to Follow Through on Promises to Fix the CCPA

Following the rapid passage of the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), the Legislature acknowledged the need to fix provisions of the law that would have a detrimental impact on businesses. Thus far, most of the problems contained in the CCPA have not been addressed, and yet we are running out of time before businesses will be required to comply with this vague and confusing law.

We urge the Legislature to follow through on the promise to make this law workable. CCPA can’t just sound good written on paper – it needs to be a policy that can actually be reasonably implemented. It must be expertly designed to enhance privacy for consumers, while still enabling us to access the information, apps, and services we like, and still enabling businesses to operate competitively and responsibly in this modern economy. The Legislature must refrain from passing the buck to the Attorney General and waiting for his office to figure out the mess of compliance, implementation and enforcement. Instead, it is your responsibility to fix the CCPA before the Legislative Sessions ends in September.

There is certainly no lack of analysis to support the need for revisions.

  • For the record, the California Chamber of Commerce provided an extensive list of the problems with the existing law as written that need to be addressed. And small business, media and advertising, non-profit, retail and professional organizations have also registered their strong concerns about various aspects of the law including compliance costs, the lack of clarity in defining personal information and sale, the elimination of loyalty programs, and the ability of business to interact with or advertise to customers.
  • You may be aware of the legal problems associated with the CCPA contained in this analysis prepared by Professor Eric Goldman from Santa Clara University School of Law and co-signed by 40 other legal scholars and practitioners. That document discusses the problems with the language in the Act, as well as how it actually, counterproductively, undermines consumer privacy in several ways. Another analysis provides the legal and practical basis to conclude that the CCPA is unworkable, burdensome and possibly unconstitutional.
  • Companies that provide media and entertainment, music streaming, transportation apps, tourism marketing, influencer blogs, creative agencies, and consumers that enjoy access to many of those apps and services will be negatively impacted by the CCPA, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau. The ad-dependent businesses whose products and services are supported by ad revenue from the internet will have to adjust to a decline in revenue, and consumers that rely on free services will be forced to pay subscription fees. Privacy can be protected without taking away advertising revenue and free services, but that will require a more thoughtful, solution-oriented discussion about the problems with the CCPA.
  • Finally, the Internet Association has outlined the dysfunction that will result in the technology sector if the CCPA is not clarified. Startup companies and ad-dependent enterprises rely on a well- functioning internet and information ecosystem to make their business feasible. Protecting privacy is necessary, but it’s also important to support the technology marketplace that provides jobs and revenue to the state. Consumer privacy can be protected without intentionally harming California’s technology industry.

More than a year has passed since the original bill was signed into law, and the clock has almost run out for fixes to the many problems that experts have identified. Some businesses are allocating funds for legal and technical changes to comply with CCPA or developing new business plans to adjust to loss of ad revenue or the restrictions on marketing. But many companies, especially small and new companies without compliance resources, are unaware of—and unable to get guidance about—the direct and indirect impact this will have on their operations.

If California wants to be a leader in consumer privacy and create a national model, then we must get this right.

Please, make the fixes to the CCPA to make it right. In doing so, the Legislature will keep its promise to clean up the problems with the original bill, and you will set the stage for businesses to successfully follow the law and for consumers to truly enjoy heightened levels of data privacy and protection.

Thank you,

California Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce
California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce
California Restaurant Association
California Small Business Association
Coalition of Small & Disabled Veteran BusinessesConnected Commerce Council
Engine Advocacy
Latin Business Association
National Federation of Independent Business, CA
Small Business California
Valley Industry & Commerce Association


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“The stakes are high and the window to act closing. Because the law has not yet taken effect, many California companies have not begun to focus on the change required by the California Consumer Privacy Act. 

“But when they do, there will be anger over the high costs of compliance, uncertainty about how to comply, confusion about the management of data, misinformation about liability, and concern about the changes to the internet economy.”

— Read more from State Director John Kabateck’s guest editorial published by CalMatters

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