A sweeping law aimed at giving consumers more power over their online data finally went into effect on Saturday, July 1st, after it was passed in April of 2022.
The Consumer Data Privacy Act, as it has come to be known, was broadly supported by both Democrats and Republicans because it protected customers without punishing local businesses.
As part of the law, businesses operating online would be required to be transparent about the way they use and protect customer data. They would also be required to allow customers to opt out of data collection and allow them to edit their data if they want to.
Small businesses, meanwhile, would not be held liable if a third-party vendor failed to follow the law, so long as they do so without the knowledge of the business. Additionally, while businesses are now required to comply with the new regulations, there is a built-in 18-month curing period during which businesses will be able to bring themselves into compliance without suffering legal action.
The State Attorney General’s Office has sole enforcement authority under the new law and has spent the last year gearing up for this moment. The already existing privacy and data security team has been expanded and they’ve been working directly with local businesses to answer questions and put together resources.
“We’ve been doing speaking events for businesses, participating on panels, local bar associations, the Boston Bar Association, some of the national ones too,” says Assistant Attorney General John Neumon. “We have our FAQs up with the various links to help both businesses and consumers, training and education, even for us, for ourselves.”
Neumon says this law is unique in that most of the problems and concerns that business owners might have had were addressed from the beginning which has reduced some of the headaches for his team and those local businesses.
“Our ultimate goal is compliance,” he says. “My perfect world would be businesses understand all their obligations, consumers understand all their rights, and it all works very, very well. It’s going to be a long ramp-up education for businesses, for consumers, and quite frankly, for us too. So we’re going to continue to do that over and over again.”
Consumers likely won’t see any major changes to a business’s website, but Neumon says they will notice updates to privacy policies and notifications of those new rules. He recommends that consumers read some of those updates, especially the ones specific to Connecticut, and familiarize themselves with their rights.
In the meantime, any business owner or consumer who feels like they don’t understand the new law is encouraged to read through the online FAQ.