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In a nutshell, the CCPA is the state of California’s comprehensive privacy law. It marks a milestone in US privacy regulation in the same way that GDPR did for Europe. The CCPA is not the first state privacy law in the country. Maine, Nevada, and Rhode Island have already enacted modern privacy reforms. However, it is the most comprehensive. And given the size of California’s economy – one-sixth of the whole country’s economy – it’s the most far-reaching to date.
The CCPA is most often described in direct comparison to GDPR. While its spirit is similar, understanding the ways it deviates from its predecessor is a key business concern for many companies. There are lots of small but crucial distinctions. They range from who is protected (“subjects” vs “consumers”) to the rights bestowed (for instance, the CCPA doesn’t contain a Right to Object but does mandate that a “Do Not Sell My Information” button must be placed on consumer-facing sites).
Observers tend to agree that the CCPA is not quite as far-reaching as GDPR in most cases. However, it’s impossible to know how that will look in practice until enforcement of the law comes into effect next year. If you want to dive into the details of what the CCPA covers and how it differs from GDPR, there’s an excellent guide here.