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What Does The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) Mean for Kids?

Will the CCPA Reshape Online Privacy for Kids’ Across America?

The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) of 2018 was signed into law by California Governor Jerry Brown on June 28, 2018. Currently, penalties under the law can include up to $7,500 per incident.

This new law brings stronger data privacy protections for residents of California, especially minors under the age of 16.

What Data Privacy Rights Does CCPA Give Consumers?

The CCPA gives “consumers” (defined as California residents) four basic rights concerning data collection and consent regarding their personal information:

  • Right to Know: Under CCPA consumers have the right to know what personal information a business has collected about them, where it was sourced from, what it is being used for, whether it is being disclosed or sold, and to whom it is being disclosed or sold;
  • Right to Opt Out: CCPA gives consumers control over whom they give consent to collect their data. Consumers can “opt out” of allowing a business to sell their personal information to third parties (or, for minors who are under 16 years old, the right not to have their personal information sold, unless their parent’s opt-in to allow data collection);
  • Right to Delete: CCPA gives consumers the right to have a business delete their personal information, with some exceptions;
  • Right to Equal Service: The right to receive equal service and pricing from a business, even if they exercise their privacy rights under CCPA.

How Will CCPA Impact Kids’ Privacy?

The primary benefit for kids, teens, and families are that the CCPA will give parents and teens more control over what personal data companies can collect from minors.

  • Increased Age Gate: The CCPA raises the age for data consent for minors from 13 in the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), to age 16 for residents of California.
  • Data Consent: Under CCPA, minors under 16 years of age must authorize the sale of their personal information. For children that are under 13, the opt-in must be collected from a parent or guardian.
  • Personal Data: Under CCPA, the definition of “personal data” has been expanded beyond names, addresses, SSNs, and email addresses.
  • The law defines personal information to include the collection of geolocation, IP addresses, shopping or browsing history, psychological profiles, consumption behaviors, and consumer preferences.
  • Due to the broad definition of “personal information” under CCPA, the law will also impact privacy and data collection on devices ranging from smartphones, VR/AR, gaming consoles, apps and more.

How is CCPA Different Than COPPA?

The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) have many similar goals around children’s’ privacy, but there are several differences:

  • Businesses catering to kids’ don’t ask new users if they are 13 years old or younger so that they can avoid gaining actual knowledge of the users’ age, and thereby avoid triggering data collection regulations under COPPA, such as obtaining Verifiable Parental Consent (VPC).
  • Under CCPA, businesses will need to ask consumers who reside in California to verify whether they are 16 years of age or older before they can begin selling any data obtained from a minor.
  • The CCPA explicitly provides that a business which willfully disregards the consumer’s age has actual knowledge of the consumer’s age.
  • The primary challenge for many companies is that to be CCPA compliant, they will now be required to acquire actual knowledge of a users age, and by doing so, it may potentially open them to COPPA liability.

When Does CCPA Become Law?

The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) becomes law effective January 1, 2020.

The Future of Kids’ Online Privacy

The stricter age regulations required under the new California law, similar to those under the European Union’s GDPR-K law, will force business to take more responsibility to verify the age of the person whose data they are collecting and/or selling.

According to ChildStats.com, there are 50M kids under 13 in the USA, which means there are approximately 40M kids online today. We clearly need to work on and find solutions that protect the privacy of kids online.

Congress is also considering the Do Not Track Kids Act, which would extend COPPA to children up to 16 years of age while others are predicting a zero data Internet for kids.

Either way, the CCPA is a bold step forward in making the internet a safer place for kids in California. Moreover, as the saying goes, as goes California, so does the rest of the nation. And for the sake of our children’s privacy online, that may be a step in the right direction.