Why does California care about Third Party Data?

By Olivia Pocat

Third-party data is any information collected by an entity that does not have a direct relationship with the individual from whom the data is being collected. This means that a company to whom you have not given permission to access and collect your data may still collect your information by buying your data or can get it through providing services to companies that collect your data, or they can scrape it off of the internet. Some of this information is also collected through cookies and may include frequented websites or YouTube videos you watch. Even without having direct contact with you, third parties still have the ability to build an online profile on you based on your habits and data sharing between companies and help other companies learn about their customer base to better market their product. These third parties then sell the data to more third parties so they can facilitate targeted advertisements. Third party data collection can be beneficial to you by serving you personalized advertisements to products you might actually buy based on previous purchases and trends. However, in the end, it’s safer if people don’t have online programs developing information and a profile on you without your consent. 

In California we have consumer privacy laws that regulate data collection of individuals.  One is the California Consumer Privacy Act that went into effect on January 1, 2020 and the second is proposition 24 on the November ballot which is entitled the California Privacy Rights Act which will, in many ways, if it passes, further protect your privacy rights online. The California Consumer Privacy Act creates rights for California residents with respect to their data and obligations for businesses. The CCPA gives Californian consumers the right to know about personal information a business collects about them and how it is used and shared, the right to delete personal information collected from them, and the right to opt-out of the sale of their personal information. The CPRA is a ballot initiative that, if passed in the November election, will amend the CCPA and expand the protection of a consumer’s personal information and privacy rights. Both of these acts will ultimately help data privacy and the future of consumer data protection.