California Helps Consumers Crowdsource Privacy Policy Violations

ca-attorney-generalCalifornia Attorney General Kamala Harris announced yesterday that her office has rolled out a new online form to help consumers report companies who violate California’s Online Privacy Protection Act (CalOPPA). Under the California law, a website, app or online service must have a CalOPPA compliant privacy policy that is accessible to the consumer. Moreover, these entities must adhere to the terms of their privacy policy and notify consumers of any substantial changes to the policy.

The form consists of four sections and consumers have the option of reporting one or more of the following violations to the Office of the Attorney General:

  • A Missing or Inapplicable Privacy Policy
  • A Privacy Policy That is Difficult to Locate
  • An Incomplete Privacy Policy
  • A Company that Did Not Follow its Privacy Policy
  • A Company’s Failure to Provide Notice of a Material Change
Notably, consumers who use this online form do not have to provide their personal information in order to lodge a complaint; the online form makes volunteering consumer information optional, which may make it difficult for companies to respond to legitimate consumer concerns. It is unclear what impact this new online form will have for companies who otherwise comply with CalOPPA. Operators who do not follow the privacy policies they present to consumers, however, can expect far more scrutiny as this consumer crowdsourcing tool helps regulators identify violators.