California Attorney General Releases Guidelines for Online Privacy

Kamala D. Harris' proposed guidelines show how sites can comply with California's newest privacy laws that require companies to disclose privacy practices

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris says the guidelines will help sites

California is making it easier to comply with its online privacy laws that went into effect this year, thanks to Attorney General Kamala D. Harris.

Harris, the first female African American and Asian American attorney general in California, released her list of recommendations, “Making Your Privacy Practices Public: Recommendations on Developing a Meaningful Privacy Policy.”

California’s had online privacy laws on the record since 2003, with the California Online Privacy Protection Act, but passed an addendum in 2013 that included “tracking transparency” in response to more advertisers tracking users’ activities with site cookies and gathering personal information about them.

“California has proven that robust and balanced privacy protections are consistent with a thriving innovation economy,” Attorney General Harris said. “This guide is a tool for businesses to create clear and transparent privacy policies that reflect the state’s privacy laws and allow consumers to make informed decisions.”

The recommendations in the guide are designed to help sites comply with the new law. Under the law, sites are required to inform consumers in an understandable fashion about the type of data collected, what the data is used for, and how long it’s retained.

Sites must also disclose whether or not third parties are collecting and using the personally identifiable information.

Companies like HP are on board, with Scott Taylor, Vice President and Chief Privacy Officer stating, “HP commends the work of California in establishing expectations-based guidance for privacy as it strikes the right balance between innovation and the protection of legitimate consumer rights.”

Of course, you can always opt out of being tracked by advertisers, though the process is a little buggy. Set up by the Digital Advertising Alliance, the opt-out page stops advertsiers from showing you “interest based advertisements” based on your browsing habits.

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