SyncShow B2B Marketing Blog

Compliance Refresher: GDPR, CCPA, ADA

In an era where digital privacy and accessibility have become forefront concerns for consumers, adhering to compliance rules such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has never been more critical. These focus areas not only align with the privacy trends we've seen, such as anti-spam measures by major email providers and the phased removal of cookies by Google, but they also emphasize a shift toward greater transparency, user control over personal data, and inclusivity in digital environments.

Understanding GDPR: A Must for Every Business

The GDPR, which took effect in May 2018, fundamentally changed how businesses must handle the personal data of individuals within the EU. However, its reach is global, as it applies to any organization that processes the personal data of EU residents, regardless of the company's location. This can include everything from tracking visitor traffic to collecting information via forms, even if you don’t do business in the EU. The GDPR emphasizes several key principles:

  • Consent: Explicit consent must be obtained before any personal data is processed.
  • Right to Access: Individuals have the right to know what data is being collected and how it is being used.
  • Data Portability: Individuals can request a copy of their personal data in a digital format.
  • Right to be Forgotten: Individuals can request the deletion of their personal data.

ADA Accessibility Considerations

In addition to data privacy laws, ADA compliance is crucial for ensuring digital content is accessible to all users, including those with disabilities. This includes making websites and mobile applications navigable and usable for people with a variety of disabilities, such as visual, auditory, physical, speech, cognitive, and neurological disabilities. Key considerations include:

  • Text Alternatives: Provide text alternatives for any non-text content so it can be changed into other forms people need, such as large print, braille, speech, symbols, or simpler language.
  • Adaptable and Distinguishable Content: Create content that can be presented in different ways (for example, simpler layout) without losing information or structure. Ensure that the text and background have enough contrast for easy visibility.
  • Keyboard Accessible: Ensure all functionalities are accessible via keyboard alone, without requiring specific timings for individual keystrokes.

Other Privacy Regulations

In addition to the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), the United States has several other state-specific privacy laws and federal regulations that govern the collection, storage, and processing of personal data. Here’s a brief overview of some notable U.S.-based privacy regulations:

  1. California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA): An extension and modification of the CCPA, the CPRA strengthens consumer privacy rights further by adding new provisions around data minimization, purpose limitation, and rights related to automated decision-making. It also establishes the California Privacy Protection Agency (CPPA) for enforcement.
  2. Virginia Consumer Data Protection Act (VCDPA): Effective in 2023, this act allows Virginia residents to access, correct, delete, and obtain copies of personal data held by companies. It also introduces the concept of "data minimization" and requires that companies conduct data protection assessments for certain types of processing.
  3. Colorado Privacy Act (CPA): Similar to Virginia’s VCDPA, the CPA, which is also set to take effect in 2023, provides Colorado residents with the right to access, correct, and delete their personal data. Additionally, it includes provisions for opting out of data processing for targeted advertising, the sale of personal data, or profiling in furtherance of decisions that produce legal or significant effects.
  4. Nevada Privacy of Information Collected on the Internet from Consumers Act: Primarily focused on Internet transactions, Nevada’s law requires operators of websites and online services to provide a privacy notice and describes what must be included in these notices. It also gives consumers the right to opt out of the sale of their personal data.
  5. New York SHIELD Act (Stop Hacks and Improve Electronic Data Security Act): This act requires businesses to implement specific data security measures to protect New Yorkers' private information. It also broadens the scope of information covered, including biometric data, and updates the notification requirements for breaches.
  6. Biometric Information Privacy Acts (BIPA): Several states including Illinois, Texas, and Washington have laws specifically governing the collection, use, and safeguarding of biometric data (e.g., fingerprints, retina scans).
  7. Federal Regulations:
    • Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA): Protects sensitive patient health information from being disclosed without the patient's consent or knowledge.
    • Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA): Imposes certain requirements on operators of websites or online services directed to children under 13 years of age, and on operators of other websites or online services that knowingly collect personal information from children under 13.
    • Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA): Requires financial institutions to explain their information-sharing practices to their customers and to safeguard sensitive data.

Recent Activism and Compliance Challenges

Recent activism highlights the ongoing importance of both privacy and accessibility compliance. An activist targeting companies for non-compliance with GDPR has brought these issues into the spotlight by reaching out to businesses and raising potential claims for those they believe do not comply. The complaints primarily concern the lack of easily accessible unsubscribe links in emails and the tracking of user engagement via cookies without proper consent. This underscores the need for businesses to not only comply with these regulations but also to ensure that their practices are transparent, easily navigable for consumers, and inclusive for all users.

Best Practices for Compliance

To navigate these murky waters, here are several best practices that every marketing manager should consider:

  1. Consult with Legal Experts: Ensure that you have discussed GDPR, CCPA, and ADA requirements with your legal team to develop a compliance strategy tailored to your company.
  2. Implement a Clear Cookie Policy and Accessibility Features: Provide users with an option to opt out of being tracked by cookies and ensure your website and digital content are accessible according to ADA guidelines.
  3. Develop Comprehensive Privacy Policies: Clearly articulate in your privacy policy what data you collect, how it is used, how users can exercise their rights under GDPR and CCPA, and how you ensure accessibility.
  4. Provide website designs that create options to meet accessibility standards. Google’s Lighthouse provides a tool that gives guidance and recommendations on ADA compliance.
  5. Practice Consent-Based Marketing: Engage only with contacts who have explicitly opted into your email communications. This not only ensures compliance but also enhances the effectiveness of your marketing efforts by targeting interested audiences.

At Syncshow, we are not legal advisors and do not provide legal advice. To discuss how we can assist your business in achieving compliance and enhancing your marketing strategy, visit our consultation page.

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