NEWS29 November 2022

California asked to protect audience measurement in privacy bill

News North America Privacy Public Sector

US – The Insights Association (IA) has warned that changes to California’s privacy laws due to come into effect in 2023 could effectively ban audience measurement unless protections for the industry are added.

California's flag

The California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA) is due to come into effect on 1st January 2023, with enforcement to begin on 1st July, and sets out reforms to consumer rights and privacy laws in the US state.

However, the law as it stands does not include audience measurement on its express list of business purposes, which allows companies to combine personal information received from businesses with personal information received from the service provider’s own interactions with consumers.

By not including audience measurement, the IA said the CPRA “effectively amounts to a ban on critical audience measurement activities” and called for a rethink.

In a letter to the California Privacy Protection Agency (CPPA), the IA said: “We do not believe the CPRA’s drafters intended to regulate these types of activities.

“To that point, draft federal legislation and extant state privacy statutes already make an accommodation for audience measurement.

“Accordingly, we again strongly urge the agency to follow the lead of federal and other state legislators and add audience measurement to the express list of business purposes.”

The IA has also expressed its concern that the CPRA is still being tweaked just over a month before coming into effect.

Alongside the California Chamber of Commerce, the IA warned that it was “hugely problematic” to expect companies to comply with laws that were not finalised with just over a month remaining until they came into effect.

The CPPA has recently indicated that it will consider how soon after 1st January an alleged infraction occurs when considering an investigation, and may also consider “good faith efforts” at compliance.

However, the IA said in its letter to the CPPA that it failed to understand “how a law that cannot be implemented by its effective date, let alone implemented properly, protects consumers or takes into consideration impact on businesses”.

The IA added: “Stated plainly, the problem identified has nothing to do with the intentions and good faith efforts of businesses to comply; it has to do with the delayed regulations of this agency.

“Yet, the ones who will feel the consequences of that failure are businesses, their employees and the consumers they serve.”