In less than a week, U.S. data privacy changes forever. That’s because the California Consumer Privacy Act – or CCPA for short – takes effect January 1st.

If you haven’t heard about this regulation (or have simply ignored our previous warnings), this regulation will revolutionize how your organization manages, protects, and uses consumers’ personal data. Much like Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the CCPA gives California residents – and likely everyone else – several new rights where their data is concerned.

While the regulation’s details aren’t 100% defined yet, companies everywhere are already scrambling to comply. You can’t afford to ignore these new data privacy rules if you want to continue to do business in the U.S.’s most populous – and prosperous – state.

Why Data Privacy Under the CCPA is a Big Deal

Until now, companies in the U.S. haven’t been legally required to tell you how, when, why, or to what extent consumer data is being collected and used. But that’s just days away from changing. CCPA makes it possible for private citizens to protect their personal information from unsafe practices – and even request it to be deleted or prevented from selling it off to other organizations in certain cases.

And this next-gen data privacy regulation goes beyond the information you’d expect – names, online usernames, passwords, phone numbers, addresses, etc. – to safeguard digital consumer footprints like IP addresses and unique device identifiers. While publicly available data is still off the table in terms of CCPA’s protections, the goal of this legislation is to separate identities from information that can be pieced together to trace back to a specific person.

And the penalties for noncompliance are nothing to take lightly.

The Cost of Noncompliance

The cost of noncompliance adds up quick for any business not following the letter of CCPA’s laws. Individual violations can result in fines of up to $2,500 (or $7,500 if done intentionally) once the California Attorney General uncovers them. For large enterprises, this can mean millions of dollars in fines…

While this office may not have the resources to catch every violator or enforce each new rule yet, expect the state to make an example of early offenders. Individuals will also have new rights to sue companies that fail to protect their data, meaning the likelihood of class action suits resulting from data breaches is sure to rise going forward.

More than anything else, this data privacy regulation matters because of what it’s outcome is intended to do outside of California. While the regulation is technically only applicable to California residents, most companies are likely to apply these rules to all U.S. consumers because it’s too difficult and time-consuming to treat consumers of each state differently.

By complying with the CCPA, your organization ensures all individual data rights are preserved in one initiative – regardless of where your customers reside. After all, the nation’s leading market of nearly 40 million residents can’t be ignored if you hope to continue successful operations moving forward. And who knows when – or if – a more stringent federal law will ever be passed.

data privacySo, are you ready for CCPA? If not, there’s no need to panic – AOTMP® University has your back! Take advantage of our Introduction to Data Privacy Course to brush up on all the considerations, best practices, and insights your organization needs before it’s too late.