Complying with California's Do Not Track Requirements

Legal Compliance Resource
January 13, 2014 — 881 views  

Jerry Brown, the Governor of California, signed into existence a new law pertaining to privacy and has repercussions for every business in the U.S. that operates a website and collects information pertaining to the identity of a person. The law addresses any identifiable information that is collected by a website from a customer and is maintained in an accessible form including information such as home address, first and last names, email address, address including name of the street, city etc., social security numbers, telephone numbers or any other information that helps in the identification of the consumer. The law has already been scheduled to be into effect from January 1, 2014 on.

The Existing Law

The state of California already has a California Online Privacy Protection Act that is aimed at websites collecting personal identifiable information pertaining to the residents of the state of California. According to the existing online policy, the websites are obligated to provide the consumers with a privacy policy along with the date on which the policy was made effective. Under the existing law, the website is also entitled to describe their methods on how the users would be notified about any changes taking place in the policy and they are also obligated to share what categories of the information is being collected and who the information would be shared with.

The New Law

The new law that has passed both the houses of the Legislature with a unanimous response requires the websites to disclose how their websites would respond to the 'do not track' signals on the web browsers or any other mechanisms that allow the users with a choice regarding how their information is collected over various third party sites and other online services. The new law suggests that the website owners need to comply with a disclosure requirement and provide a hyperlink in the privacy policy linking to a description of protocols offered by the operator to help the consumer opt out of tracking. The purpose of the new law is to increase awareness among the consumers about the issue of online tracking conducted by websites and other services such as mobiles apps.

The law would allow the consumers to learn whether a website honors the Do Not Track policies and they will be able to make an informed decision about using the services provided by the app or the website. The law has been created to provide the consumers with intimation about whether or not their choice of not tracking their information is being honored. The also makes it mandatory for all online services to disclose whether other third parties are collecting information about a consumer's activities online across a range of websites when the consumer makes use of the services provided by a particular website. As per the new obligations any organization, website or online service collecting information about the residents of the State of California regardless of whether operating from within the state needs to comply with the new laws with additional disclosures being provided to the consumers.

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