California’s AG will prosecute companies that weren’t CCPA compliant by January 1st

News ¦ December 17th, 2019, 11:00 pm

Attorney General (AG) Xavier Becerra clarified at a news conference in Sacramento that he fully expects businesses to be compliant with the CCPA immediately starting January 1st, 2020, and that his office will enforce violations that occurred before July 1st.

Ever since senate bill SB-1121 delayed CCPA enforcement action to July 1st, 2020, businesses have been unsure at what date they need to be fully compliant with the law. Some believed that because the AG would not enforce before July 1st, they were free to delay their compliance efforts until this new deadline as well. On Monday, the AG set the record straight.

Many businesses have countered that achieving compliance by January 1st is troublesome as the final regulations have not yet been published. The AG had proposed a set of regulations on October 10th, with public comments allowed until December 6th. AG Becerra won’t accept this uncertainty as an excuse, stating that “initial public disclosure of our proposed regs gives everyone a sense of where we think we should go.”

Attorney General Becerra noted that the Department of Justice will focus on “sensitive, critical data,” especially that of minors: “If you’re going to see real enforcement — aggressive, early, decisive enforcement action — early on, it will deal with kids.”

The AG has also stated that the CCPA was not designed to harm unsuspecting businesses, and that we shouldn’t expect “a massive enforcement action on a small mom-and-pop shop.” However, he made clear that small businesses cannot expect to fly under the radar. Any business or service provider in the scope of the CCPA should adhere to its obligations, no matter its size. In the words of AG Becerra: “You do not want to be the poster child.”

With January 1st, 2020 right around the corner, businesses will need to get their act together as soon as possible. Trying to push deadlines back by pointing at ambiguities in the law is not an option. Making excuses will not be tolerated and could turn out to be very expensive.

AG Becerra warned companies to be ready: “ignorance of the law is not an excuse for not following it.”

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