Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, any California consumer whose personal information is compromised “as a result of the business’ violation of the duty to implement and maintain reasonable security procedures and practices … may institute a civil action.”
Consumers can initiate this private right of action right now, whereas other consumer rights can only be enforced by the Attorney General beginning in July.
Why This Matters
Most civil actions filed against companies during the last decade were dismissed. Why? Consumers were unable to demonstrate a suitable harm. Sure, cybersecurity incidents are a hassle for consumers to deal with, but that alone was not enough. Recently, however, courts have said “the hassle” is enough, at least for cases to proceed past their initial stages. This has led to a steady rise in both the number of cases that are settled and their dollar amounts.
Complicating things further, under the CCPA proving harm doesn’t necessarily matter. If personal information is compromised because of a failure to implement and maintain reasonable security, the CCPA quantifies harm to be “not less than one hundred dollars ($100) and not greater than seven hundred and fifty ($750) per consumer per incident” or an amount higher if proven. What matters is whether your security is reasonable.
Google’s search engine defines reasonable as “as much is appropriate or fair.” For those who reminisce about how they spent three years in law school learning the many ways “reasonable” can be interpreted, the CCPA may trigger déjà vu; neither the CCPA nor its proposed regulations defines “reasonable security.” But reliable guidance is available. Continue Reading