Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman

California internet privacy bill signed by governor, effective 1 January 2014

By Deborah S Thoren-Peden and Catherine D Meyer, Amy L Pierce, and Elsa S Broeker

On 27 September 2013, California governor Edmund G Brown signed Assembly Bill 370, a bill that amends the Business & Professions Code § 22575 to require an operator of a commercial internet website or online service that collects personally identifiable information about consumers residing in California who use or visit its website or service to disclose how it responds to ‘do-not-track’ signals or other mechanisms that provide consumers with a choice regarding the collection of personally identifiable information (PII) about the consumer’s online activities and to disclose whether others may collect PII when a consumer uses the operator’s website of online service.

Existing California law requires any person or entity that owns a commercial website or online service that collects PII through the internet about individual consumers residing in California who use or visit its commercial website or online service (an operator) to conspicuously post its privacy policy on its website, or in the case of an operator of an online service to make the privacy policy available to consumers of the online service by any other reasonably accessible means. Under the new law signed by Brown, operators will be required to comply with additional privacy policy disclosures regarding visitor-tracking practices commencing on 1 January 2014.

California attorney-general Kamala Harris has taken steps over the past two years to enforce Section 22575. This has included reaching agreements with platforms offering mobile apps to require compliant privacy policies for the mobile apps they offer to consumers on their platforms. With the heightened attention being given this statute, it should be expected that the new do-not-track disclosures will be enforced with similar vigour…

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