Preliminary results are in! CCPA testers provide important insights into the landmark privacy law

Maureen Mahoney
Jun 8, 2020 · 2 min read

We need your help — join us in testing the California Consumer Privacy Act!

Our study to test the new California Consumer Privacy Act has gone live, and we’re blown away by the results we’ve gotten so far! Over 300 testers have submitted opt-out requests to 194 data brokers on the California data broker registry, and we’re beginning to get some early insights into how companies are responding to CCPA requests.

Under the CCPA, Californians have the right to access, delete, and stop the sale of their information. Now, we’re putting the new law to the test. For our first look into how this law is working, we decided to check out the “do not sell” provision. We assigned each participant in the study one company to investigate — our focus is data brokers who are listed on the California Attorney General’s data broker registry — and asked them to try opting out of the sale of their information.

Under the CCPA, companies that sell customer data are required to place an easy-to-see link on their homepages, enabling consumers to stop the sale of their personal information — including geolocation data and insights drawn from consumers’ online activity — to third parties. The good news? So far, most consumers — about two thirds — were able to find the Do Not Sell link on the company’s homepage, and less than a quarter of those reported that it was difficult or very difficult to find the link. And in over half of the requests, participants spent less than five minutes to submit the request.

But, there’s disappointing news as well. We’re concerned by reports from at least 42 participants that they were asked to accept cookies in their browsers, suggesting that some companies are, by default, pressing consumers to opt-in to the tracking (and sale) of their data.

Of course, these numbers will change over time, and this is just a sample of responses — not necessarily representative of all consumers. But nevertheless, these early results indicate potential problems with the opt-out process.

That’s why we’re planning to share results with the attorney general to help advocate for a consumer-friendly CCPA. We’re also advocating — in California, states across the country, and at the federal level — for strong legislation that protects your privacy by default. But we need your participation to help make all of this possible. If you haven’t already, please join our study today — and tell your friends!

Digital Lab at Consumer Reports

Digital Lab at Consumer Reports