After the Cambridge Analytica scandal and the European Union passed its General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) this year, there seems to be no end to the buzzing data privacy conversation—and now it’s revving up again in the states of Vermont and California.
While federal lawmakers have begun introducing bills to protect consumer rights and privacy regarding data, it’s still unclear as to whether they’ll gain enough traction to get a vote. Instead, Vermont and California began passing their own data privacy regulations that could majorly impact companies located in those states as well as the meetings held in them.
In late May, Vermont passed the country’s first law to regulate data brokers, or companies that sell people’s information, including everything from online purchases to debts to browsing histories. TechCrunch reported that the state will now require data brokers to register as such with the state, and they will be required to take standard security measures and notify authorities of security breaches (something that was not required before).
Then, California took up the regulations a notch in late June, passing the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018, which greatly changes how the state’s businesses will be able to handle data, including major ones like Google and Facebook. With very similar implications as the new GDPR protections, the law will require companies to disclose the types of data they collect and also allow consumers to opt out of having their data sold—a key difference from the GDPR plan, which requires consumers to opt in.
The law is set to go into effect as soon as 2020, and will affect all companies with more than 50,000 annual customers, those earning more than $25 million per year and those gaining 50 percent of revenue by selling customer information. In other words, the bill is aggressively going after the tech companies headquartered in Silicon Valley, and meeting planners working for these companies or holding meetings in the Golden State will certainly need to exercise precaution as the law comes into play.