Forbes reported that it received an email from representatives of Attorney General Xavier Becerra refusing an industry group request to delay enforcement of the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (“CCPA”) due to the ongoing disruptions caused by the response to 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) (“COVID-19”). With California on lockdown, and most businesses forced to close or have employees work remotely for an unspecified period of time, a collection of numerous trade groups and associations, including, for example, the California Chamber of Commerce, the California Credit Union League, the California Retailers Association, the California New Car Dealers Association and the Internet Coalition, sent a letter to Attorney General Becerra on March 17, 2020, requesting that the Attorney General delay enforcement of the CCPA until January 2, 2021. Currently, the Attorney General may bring an enforcement action under the CCPA on the earlier of (1) six months after finalization of CCPA regulations, which are currently in their third proposed draft, or (2) July 1, 2020 (given that CCPA regulations have not yet been finalized, enforcement will begin on July 1, 2020).
Forbes reported today that it received an email from an unnamed “advisor to Becerra” refusing to delay enforcement of the CCPA. According to Forbes, the email stated, “[r]ight now, we’re committed to enforcing the law upon finalizing the rules or July 1, whichever comes first.” The email went on to state that the Attorney General is “mindful of the new reality created by COVID-19 and the heightened value of protecting consumers’ privacy online that comes with it. We encourage businesses to be particularly mindful of data security in this time of emergency.” (It appears that the representative misspoke that enforcement actions may begin upon finalization of CCPA regulations, as California Civil Code Section 1798.185(c) allows enforcement to begin on the earlier of (1) six months after finalization of the regulations, or (2) July 1, 2020.)
Accordingly, it appears that the ongoing COVID-19 disruptions will have no effect on enforcement of the CCPA. Businesses should continue to prepare for the CCPA as if the law will be enforced as scheduled. Severson & Werson remains open for business, with its attorneys all working remotely under the Firm’s business continuity plan, to answer your CCPA enforcement questions.
Joseph W. Guzzetta is a privacy lawyer at Severson & Werson. He is the author of The Rutter Group’s California Practice Guide: Privacy Law, published by Thomson Reuters. For further information relating to the CCPA in general or CCPA enforcement in particular, please contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 415-677-5622