California Businesses: Delay Privacy Law Enforcement Due to Coronavirus

A number of representatives from the California state business community are ramping up pressure on state Attorney General Xavier Becerra to delay enforcing the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), since the quickly-evolving situation related to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic is putting additional pressure on businesses’ timetable to comply with the law’s new requirements on their operations. This is according to a story at Law360 by reporter Allison Grande.

Official portrait of California Attorney General Xavier Becerra. CA DOJ | CC0
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra

The sweeping new law went into effect on January 1, but the attorney general is not permitted to start issuing enforcement actions until July 1. However, a letter sent to the attorney general’s office by the California Chamber of Commerce, United Parcel Service (UPS), the Internet Coalition, the Association of National Advertisers and 30 others has called for the deadline to be pushed back into the beginning of 2021.

In their letter, the coalition of companies and organizations contend that the outbreak of the coronavirus has required them to have more time to both implement the regulations that the attorney general is still drafting, but to also respond to the new challenges that businesses across the state are being confronted with as a result of the current crisis.

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“Now is not the time to threaten business leaders with premature CCPA enforcement lawsuits, particularly when the legal regime is not yet in its final form,” the letter reads in part according to the report. “A temporary deferral in enforcement of the CCPA would relieve many pressures and stressors placed on organizations due to COVID-19 and would better enable business leaders to make responsible decisions that prioritize the needs and health of their workforce over other matters.”

Intended to give California consumers more general say over how much of their personal data is collected and used by businesses operating in the state, the CCPA provides further enforcement to language found in the California state constitution, which describes privacy as an “inalienable” right for Californians.

During their presentation at the NRMLA Annual Meeting last year in Nashville, attorneys Soroush Shahin of Weiner, Brodsky, Kider and Jay Wright of Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP described the law as the “broadest and most comprehensive privacy law in the United States to date.”

Among some issues that have specific relevance to the reverse mortgage industry, the two lawyers detailed that borrower identification and the law’s broad scope encompasses institutions beyond just reverse mortgage lenders.

“If you’re a for-profit entity and you collect more than 50,000 pieces of personal information from consumers or devices, it’s extremely broad,” Soroush Shahin said during the presentation. “It’s not just limited to lenders. Any entity that meets those thresholds will be subject to CCPA.”

Read the story at Law360.

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