Ad Groups Push Back on CCPA Bill

Advertising Law

Continuing the effort to push back against the California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA), ad industry groups are speaking out about the proposed legislation that would expand private rights of action and eliminate the law’s right to cure.

Enacted last summer, the nation’s strictest consumer privacy and data protection measure is set to take effect in 2020.

In anticipation of statutory enforcement, Attorney General Xavier Becerra has solicited feedback for regulations, while state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) proposed amendments that would increase the statute’s consumer protections.

Senate Bill 561 would add a private right of action to the CCPA so consumers could file suit based on an alleged violation of any section of the law. Currently, the statute permits a consumer to file suit only when his or her unencrypted or nonredacted personal information is breached “as a result of a violation of the duty to implement and maintain reasonable security procedures and practices,” and imposes a recovery limit of $750 in statutory damages per incident.

SB 561 would also remove the existing “right to cure,” under which the attorney general is required to give businesses notice and 30 days to fix alleged violations of the CCPA before taking legal action.

In response, ad industry organizations—which have already expressed concerns with the existing law—wrote to Sen. Jackson. The expanded private right of action “would encourage frivolous lawsuits” by allowing consumers to bring suit even without an actual injury, the groups said.

“Without a requirement to suffer some harm or injury from a violation of the CCPA, there will be nothing to stop individuals and plaintiffs’ attorneys from filing frivolous lawsuits against companies for violations that have no impact on privacy,” according to the letter from the Association of National Advertisers, Interactive Advertising Bureau, American Association of Advertising Agencies, American Advertising Federation and Network Advertising Initiative.

The groups urged Sen. Jackson to reconsider the bill.

Why it matters: As the battle over consumer data privacy legislation persists, ad groups continue to push back in California. The organizations have also formed a coalition, Privacy for America, to advocate for a national law that would establish a “Data Protection Bureau” at the Federal Trade Commission and preempt state regulation, including the CCPA.