CCPA – Another Privacy Policy

Have you noticed a slew of websites, Apps and email subscriptions releasing a new privacy policy recently? If it seems as if every online retailer, blog, or news site has been begging you to look over and accept this new policy, you’re not alone. Many companies are updating these for one very specific reason– California. Yes, thanks to the new California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) many businesses, especially online businesses, have to tell consumers what data they’ve gathered about them and to give an option for consumers to opt-out of their data being sold. 

Many of these companies have already updated their privacy policy and added an opt-out option on their sites. To make it better, if you’re a customer who lives outside of California, and 88% of Americans do, you will still be able to take advantage of this privacy policy in most cases. Like with the automotive industry, California’s regulations can change the tech industry’s national behavior by regulating its largest market. It is easier to just implement one coverall policy once than have to change it on a state by state basis. So now that there are these new policies begging for us to review, and accept them, how do we actually opt-out of data selling and request our information? Well, let me help with that complicated issue.

A 55 Billion Dollar Gold Rush

The CCPA is pretty clear about the fact that businesses have to release customer data when requested and they must offer an opt-out to data selling. This applies to companies that make over $25 million in annual revenue, handle information for more than 50,000 people, or if that business earns more than half of their revenue for the selling of data. Basically it targets the big guns of data mining. This does, however, leave major companies to their own devices when it comes to implementing these changes. Big businesses are willing to spend an estimated $55 billion over the course of the next year on updating their policies and practices. This leaves a huge potential gold rush for startups to collect on and help establish protocols.

What this means for us consumers is that not every business will have the same procedure for opting out or requesting information. Not every company will have this done at the same time either. This will be a waiting game while we find out how they decide to go about the change. From what we can see now, many sites are adding a link at the bottom of a page that offers the opt-out or records request. Others include it in one of the drop-down menu items for a much easier find. I suppose the more valuable your information is to a company, the harder they’ll make it to opt-out. Curious, isn’t it?

Managing Your Privacy

So while many companies have yet to change and update their privacy policy, let me show you an example of one that has. Alaska Airlines, my airline of choice due to their frequent direct flights to my home city, has included all the required records requests and opt-outs. Theirs is located at the bottom of their home page, under “Privacy Notice”. 

From there you are redirected to a brief FAQ followed by the privacy notice in full– it’s a page-turner. At the very bottom, you will find a quite inconspicuous link to the final page where we can manage our privacy settings:

Once you click on the link, you’ll be redirected to a third-party partner (one of those start-ups cashing in on the $55 billion) and there you will see a few options to help you take control of your privacy.

When I first noticed privacy policies being updated all over the place I was a bit annoyed. All these websites and Apps with their pop-ups asking me to accept another Terms and Conditions page. Yet once I started looking into why, and what this all meant, I’m happy to say this is a small step in the right direction. Having control over your data will define our digital lives. There may be loopholes and impurities that companies could exploit and the future will tell a lot, but to have a bill that gives control back to the consumer… it’s more than unprecedented– it’s revolutionary.

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