The California Consumer Privacy Act

Yes, we know this is DC...but for a legislative piece the photo looks great!

Hailed by many as one of the most toughest privacy laws in the nation, the California Consumer Privacy Act was passed in Sacramento with lightning speed.  If you weren’t looking out for it, you would have missed it entirely.

 

This is a very big victory of course for any advocates of data privacy.  Many commentators say its passage was the result of the last few years highly publicized data breaches.  Yet how does this new law fit into the discussion of criminal records?

 

We took some time to dig deep into the language of the legislation to see if these new enumerated rights extend to consumers with past arrests, charges, or convictions.

 

The short answer is that the new Act does not provide additional protections to criminal records due to the exception of “publicly available” information from the bill.  In other words, the powers given to California consumers extend to what’s called “Personal Information”.  But information (or data) that can be obtained from public records [such as criminal records] are not covered under this definition.

 

Some may be disappointed by this distinction.  However, California has some of the most protective criminal record privacy laws on the books—which invariably help consumers in the 5thlargest economy in the world.   We know this because one of our spin-off products was an evaluation tool app (also called “RecordFixer”) where each US State’s criminal privacy laws were assessed based on multiple criminal record factors.

 

At the end of the day, the California Consumer Privacy Act is a game-changing piece of legislation that brings to light a growing trend for those who wish to flex their privacy rights.  It remains to be seen what will come of the modifications expected to broaden or limit the teeth in the bill.

 

Here at RecordFixer, we will keep a close eye on how the law evolves before taking effect—along with the many intricate webs of private/public records laws floating about as our digital lives become evermore integrated.