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How the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA) is Providing Stronger Data Protection for Employees

How the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA) is Providing Stronger Data Protection for Employees

The California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA) represents an evolution in data protection. Although it builds upon previously existing law, the twist with CPRA is that it seeks to extend protection rights beyond consumers, demonstrating a shift in thinking about data privacy.

The CPRA is an amendment and expansion of the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which was enacted in 2018, and was one of the most sweeping data privacy laws in the United States. It granted Californian consumers the right to know what personal data companies collected about them, decline the sale of their data and request their data be deleted.

But the CPRA, which passed in 2020, takes these protections even further with amendments that allow the exemptions on business-to-employee (B2E) and business-to-business (B2B) data under the CCPA to expire, as of January 2023. This expiration of exemptions is significant as it broadens the scale of data protections from being consumer-centric to encompassing employees, too.

This aspect of the CPRA conveys an understanding that in the modern digital age, data protection should not be limited to consumers alone. Employees across organizations are also vulnerable to data breaches and privacy intrusions, necessitating the provision of comprehensive rights and safeguards.

Under the extended rights provided by the CPRA, employees have similar rights to consumers concerning the usage, disclosure and sale of their personal information. This could potentially reshape the digital landscape by holding corporations more accountable for the protection of their employees' data.

However, there are certain exceptions to this scenario as well. The CPRA does maintain certain business-related exemptions, recognizing that in some scenarios, the sharing or use of employee data might be necessary for regular business operations or employer responsibilities.

For instance, employers can still collect necessary information to administer benefits, carry out obligations under employment law or maintain an emergency contact list. These exceptions construe a balanced approach, acknowledging that protecting privacy is crucial without hindering necessary business operations.

The California Privacy Rights Act marks a pivotal point in data protection laws. While many other nations have comprehensive digital privacy laws in place, the CPRA puts California — and by extension the United States — at the forefront of broader data protection rights. And as we continue to navigate a world where data is a valuable commodity, the need for strong privacy rights will only grow.

The CPRA's focus on expanding consumer rights to employees is a progressive step that recognizes the changing nature of digital privacy and sets the stage for further improvements in data protection.


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