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October 1, 2013 / Soheil Bahari

New California Disclosure Requirement For Websites And Online Services

There is a new Internet privacy bill which is pending the approval of Governor Jerry Brown after having passed in both houses of the California legislative body. The new law will put additional privacy safeguards for California residents who use commercial websites and online services.

After becoming law, every business that operates a website that collects personal information   classified as “Personally Identifiable Information” (PII) from its customers, will be affected.  “Personally Identifiable Information” includes: (1) Name (2) Physical address, including street, city or town name; (3) email address; (4) Social security number; (5) Telephone numbers and (6) any other information that permits a physical or online contact with a certain individual.

This will require additional steps to be taken than those already required under California’s existing Online Privacy Protection Act.  Existing law requires websites to post a privacy policy describing the categories of information collected and indicating the third parties the information will be shared with.  The new law requires the websites to 1) share with their customers the policies regarding the users’ internet browsers’ “do not track” demands. It gives the user the choice to participate in an information sharing policy or completely opt out of it; 2)   provide a clear and conspicuous link to their privacy policy disclosures already required by the existing law; 3) inform users of their rights regarding the website’s method of collecting information and the procedures the website operator uses to track the activities of the users and offering an option where they can avoid having their activities tracked.   In addition to these new requirements, the new law imposes legal consequences for businesses who fail to comply with these new requirements.

If you think your online privacy rights have been violated by an online service provider or a website, you can contact Khorrami Boucher Sumner Sanguinetti, LLP for a confidential consultation.

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