United States: Private And Public CCPA Enforcement Will Launch On January 1, 2020 Despite California AG Delay

Last Updated: December 26 2019
Article by Cooley LLP

As we approach the January 1, 2020 effective date of the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), many companies are feeling in the dark about how and when the CCPA will be enforced. Will the California Attorney General call on January 2nd? Will plaintiffs' lawyers serve complaints on January 3rd? Will consumers push open the floodgates to privacy requests on January 4th?

While there are several deadlines at play, try not to panic. Last week, the California Attorney General, Xavier Becerra, told Reuters that his agency has "limited resources" and "will look kindly on those that . . . demonstrate an effort to comply." Yet the AG represents only one of several CCPA enforcement mechanisms. Let's take a look at what to expect in 2020.

Consumer Privacy Requests: Starting January 1, 2020

Starting January 1, 2020, California consumers will have more control over the personal information that covered businesses collect about them. Among other things, consumers will have the right to obtain a copy of the personal information collected about them in the last 12 months, opt out of the sale of their personal information and/or request the deletion of their personal information. Covered businesses will need to comply with these consumer requests in a timely manner. Businesses that "sell" personal information to third parties will need to honor consumers' requests to stop such sales by providing a "Do Not Sell My Personal Information" link on their websites.

Data Breach Class Action Litigation: Starting January 1, 2020

The CCPA provides a private right of action and statutory damages against businesses that experience unauthorized disclosure of personal information, where the breach results from the business's failure to implement and maintain reasonable security procedures and practices. The private right of action applies only to breaches that affect a limited set of personal information protected under California's breach notification statute, which defines personal information much narrower than the CCPA. The statutory damages range from $100 to $750 per consumer per incident. Prior to initiating litigation, however, a consumer must give the business notice of the breach and 30 days to cure the alleged violation. Although the law does not articulate what such cure might entail, if the business cures the violation, the consumer cannot pursue statutory damages in the litigation.

CCPA Privacy Violation Litigation: Attempts May Start January 1, 2020

The CCPA does not provide a general private right of action for violations of the CCPA's privacy requirements (for example, with respect to notice, choice or access requirements). Further, Section §1798.150(c) of the CCPA expressly states that the CCPA should not be interpreted as "a basis for a private right of action under any other law." Thus, private plaintiffs' attorneys will likely be foreclosed from bootstrapping CCPA violations into other causes of action such as claims under California's Unfair Competition Law (UCL). Although, if the history of privacy litigation is any guide, this limit on the private right of action will not stop plaintiffs from trying to assert such claims by seeking to expand the limited private right of action the CCPA provides for security breaches.

Cities and Counties Privacy Violation Litigation: Likely to Start January 1, 2020

There is a growing trend nationwide for cities and counties to bring suits against businesses for privacy violations (see, for instance, the City of Chicago's lawsuit against Marriott International in connection with Marriott's 2018 data breach). Unlike private plaintiffs, cities and counties likely would not be barred from asserting claims under the UCL that are based on predicate violations of the CCPA. The UCL provides for penalties of up to $2500 per violation.

Larger municipalities such as the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office, the San Francisco City Attorney's Office, and the Santa Clara County Counsel's Office view consumer privacy as a matter of public interest. Earlier this year, the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office sued a subsidiary of IBM under the UCL on allegations of deceptive mining of location data of users of the Weather Channel app, and selling the data to advertising and marketing companies.

Although smaller cities and counties may lack the resources necessary to pursue such actions on their own, we expect them to partner with plaintiffs' attorneys to start bringing claims under the UCL for violations of the CCPA's privacy requirements. Such collaboration has become a common occurrence. For example, a plaintiffs' law firm recently announced a $1 billion settlement with PG&E on behalf of 14 public entities in California for losses caused by wildfire claims.

California Attorney General CCPA Enforcement: Starting July 1, 2020

Finally, starting on or shortly before July 1, 2020, the California Attorney General will have the authority to bring enforcement actions against covered businesses for any violation of the CCPA (including retroactively, for violations dating back to January 1, 2020). Civil penalties under the CCPA range from up to $2500 per unintentional violation or up to $7500 per intentional violation assessed on a per consumer basis. We expect the Attorney General to first focus on egregious violations, consistent with the Attorney General's commitment to give leeway to businesses that "demonstrate an effort to comply."


There is no question that robust privacy and regulatory enforcement will accompany the CCPA, but the enforcement is likely to build over time.

Businesses should continue their efforts to bring their privacy practices into compliance with the CCPA, recognizing that the efforts will extend beyond the January 1, 2020 deadline. Businesses should also closely follow market developments as industries begin to take more defined positions on some of the CCPA's pain points, such as whether the use of third-party cookies and tracking technologies is a "sale", the extent to which businesses can leverage the CCPA's business-to-business exemption, and many others.

As July 1, 2020 draws closer, businesses will want to align their privacy practices and CCPA compliance with mainstream (or more conservative) market positions (adjusted to the type and size of the business and the nature of data processing) to be in the middle of the pack from the perspective of private plaintiffs, the Attorney General, and cities and counties. When finalized, the Attorney General's regulations will offer additional guidance that businesses will need to take into account.

Finally, in light of the powerful private right of action for security breaches, businesses should also continue to improve their cybersecurity practices, aligning them with California's information security laws and with robust frameworks, such as the NIST Cybersecurity Framework.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
In association with
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions