The emergent privacy industry

BY Tevin Hopkins

The California Consumer Privacy Act ("CCPA"), which became effective January 1, 2020, gives people the right to know exactly what personal information companies have about them as well as the right to prohibit those companies from selling that information to others. In order to better help companies comply with these new requirements, a new market for privacy expertise and software has emerged.

As you may have noticed, there have been several new alerts on websites of large companies asking you, among other things, whether or not they may keep and sell any personal information you provide to them, regardless of whether or not you live in California. Many businesses have chosen to apply these privacy protocols that comply with the CCPA nation-wide, thus expanding with it the need for these new privacy experts and software.

For many companies, the requirements set by the new law are too complicated and possibly too expensive to implement on their own. This is where the nearly 300 new companies selling privacy services come into play. Some services provided by these companies are straight forward, such as creating website buttons or links that request people to accept or decline tracking cookies. Other services are more complicated. For example, some companies offer a service known as "mapping" where a company helps a client figure out how and where information is used within the client's company. Both of these services, and many others, are necessary not only to be able to allow customers to opt in or out of providing and allowing the company to sell user information, but also to respond to users when they request the company to disclose what data it has about them and how it is being used.

On the other hand, some start-ups are developing and selling services directly to consumers, not corporate clients. The app, Jumbo, which launched last year, offers its customers the ability to streamline and centralize their privacy decisions all in one place. It does not collect data, but instead it allows the user to be able to make their privacy decisions for several websites simply by using one app.

As more states adopt legislation similar to the CCPA, the need for these privacy businesses will only continue to grow, creating an exciting new industry with several new business opportunities for privacy professionals and others to take advantage of.

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Tevin Hopkins


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