Tech Industry Groups Ask California to Delay Enforcement of Data Privacy Law Until 2021

The fallout from coronavirus has made it impossible to comply with California's CCPA before July, according to a letter co-signed by 33 organizations.
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California is set to begin enforcement of the state’s consumer privacy law this July. But a coalition of major firms are now asking the state to hold off.

A consortium of 33 industry associations, companies and other organizations sent a letter to California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to delay enforcement of the law, dubbed the California Consumer Privacy Act, or CCPA, until next year as businesses grapple with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

A number of influential tech groups, including CompTIA, Internet Coalition, TechNet and Silicon Valley Leadership Group, signed the letter along with a swath of other organizations. The tech industry groups count major players such as Facebook  (FB) - Get Report, Microsoft  (MSFT) - Get Report and Alphabet  (GOOGL) - Get Report among their members.

The pandemic, and subsequent suspension of normal operations for a vast number of firms, have “encumbered businesses in their earnest efforts to operationalize the draft rules prior to July 1, 2020,” the letter read. The signatories collectively represent thousands of companies.

California enacted a statewide stay-at-home order on Friday to slow the spread of coronavirus, and many companies had opted in the preceding days to send workers home. The groups requested a forbearance on privacy enforcement until January 1, 2021.

Work-from-home orders have likely sent normal privacy protocols into disarray, noted Andrew Burt, chief legal officer at Immuta. But it also raises a Catch-22 between a need for privacy and the reality of the current moment.

“One of the biggest changes we're seeing is how the crisis is accelerating our reliance on digital technologies, which creates all sorts of new privacy and security concerns,” he said. “So, on the one hand, it's entirely understandable that industry groups want more time to get a handle on CCPA compliance and other privacy issues. On the other hand, the importance of how organizations protect all the data we generate is only increasing.”

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