Here’s what developers need to know to ensure compliance with the two biggest privacy laws
The digital landscape is continuously evolving, and privacy regulations such as CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act) and the European Union’s GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) are in effect to give consumers their fundamental right to data privacy.
These regulations force organizations to revamp their operations to comply. This means all departments within an organization, from marketing to software development and everything in between, have to keep privacy regulations in mind and tweak their workflows accordingly.
In this article, we will discuss the steps developers can take to stay compliant with these regulations.
Understanding Data Rights
With more people concerned about their data rights, giving them complete control over their data is essential in today’s world. Under both GDPR and CCPA, here are all the rights consumers have concerning their data:
- The right to be informed.
- The right of access.
- The right to rectification.
- The right to erasure.
- The right to restrict processing.
- The right to data portability.
- The right to object to processing.
- The rights concerning automated decision-making and profiling.
A consumer can practice these rights at any given time and enterprises are obligated to fulfill these requests as soon as possible.
GDPR and CCPA recognize that more and more consumer data is available online, which increases the possibility of cyberthreats and invites other malicious activities. This is why it’s crucial for these regulations to protect the consumers’ data while dissuading any instances of data breach or sprawl.
The Risks for Non-Compliant Businesses
The European Union (EU) has a history of making an example out of companies that are non-compliant with its regulations. One of the EU’s most recent actions was against Google.
France accused Google of infringement regarding the essential principles of the GDPR: transparency, information and consent. “Enforcement action was geared toward the way Google obtained consent,” said Myriah Jaworski, an attorney at Beckage PLLC.
Google did not present how and why an individual’s data was collected and stored, nor did the company make it easily accessible. Google was fined $57 million by the EU.
Seeing that even an industry giant is not immune to prosecution, it is clear that no company can get away with GDPR or CDPR non-compliance. To stay safe, developers must be well-versed in all the regulations and build their websites, apps and software with compliance in mind.
CCPA vs. GDPR: What’s the Difference?
While both laws serve to protect the rights of the individual, there are some differences between the two regulations. The following are the significant differences between the two laws.
Who Needs to Comply
The GDPR has a broad scope concerning who has to stay compliant with the law. It covers all citizens of the EU and regulates all organizations that collect and store personal information of EU citizens irrespective of their location and size.
In contrast, the CCPA places constraints on the size of organizations that need to comply. It applies to organizations that have $25 million or more in annual revenue; possess the personal data of more than 50,000 “consumers, households, or devices”; or earn more than half of its yearly income selling consumers’ data.
The GDPR mandates penalties based on non-compliance and data breaches. These penalties can reach up to 4% of the company’s annual global revenues, or €20 million (whichever amount is higher), with the commitment that administrative levies will be applied proportionately. CCPA fines are not cumulative but instead are applied per violation, which can reach up to $2,500 per unintentional violation and $7,500 per intentional violation, with no upper cap.
Both regulations give the consumer specific rights that they can exercise. Some of these rights include the right to have information deleted or accessed. The GDPR specifically focuses on all the data related to European Union consumers, whereas the CCPA considers both consumers and households as identifiable entities. Businesses need to test their processes and ensure they can accommodate these rights.
Use of Encryption
The clauses on encryption in both laws constitute an area that, although similar, still have some differences. Both laws call for access to data encryption, making this an essential part of the privacy protection component for businesses.
Steps to Compliance
Developers are the front-line infantry in this struggle toward compliance because websites and mobile apps are the first interactions a consumer will have with an organization. It is essential to cover all bases from the start to make the compliance workflow as smooth and efficient as possible. Let’s take a look at the steps developers can take to comply with each regulation.
Complying With CCPA
To stay compliant, developers need to integrate proper data-mapping techniques into their systems. The law dictates that organizations should be fully aware of all the data they collect—this refers to what is collected, where it is stored and how it flows through the organization. Some operational suggestions include designating a single source of truth, maintaining lineage and tracking all data within the organization.
To comply with the CCPA, organizations will need the capability to fulfill data subject access requests (DSAR). A company’s website must show the consumer what data it is going to collect and how it will be collected. Developers can work with privacy officers to create a standard privacy notice for the website or an abbreviated pop-up policy at the point the data is collected.
Organizations will be met with a flurry of requests from consumers exercising their rights under these regulations. Developers need to create a system by which the consumer can be authenticated and the correct information can be given to them. To streamline this process, developers can create a dedicated email account for requests and design workflows for verification purposes.
Data Minimization and Purpose Limiting
When collecting data, organizations need to make sure that the data is only used where necessary. To ensure that, developers can create forms that only require minimum information (data minimization) and organizations can make sure that internally used data is in line with privacy policies (purpose limitation).
Under the CCPA, organizations are required to protect the data an organization keeps about a specific individual. Although not explicitly mentioned, it is beneficial for organizations to encrypt data at rest to prevent further compromise after any data breaches.
Developers can ensure security by implementing robust applications that offer end-to-end encryption to protect consumers’ data.
Complying with GDPR
Efficiently Store Data
The way an organization stores data can be the difference between compliance and non-compliance under GDPR. Developers need to ensure that minimal data is being derived from consumers to reduce liability and only store the data that is necessary for their processes. Lastly, developers should implement data subject access rights (DSAR) tools in their storage to efficiently respond to subject data access requests.
Subject Access Requests
Developers need to integrate a system that can map all the data in the data stores and make them easily accessible when consumers request access to the data that the company keeps, even complete deletion.
Under the GDPR, an organization can not assume consent; it must be asked for. Developers working on a feature that will trigger an email or another message to be sent to users will need to integrate it with their organization’s consent tooling and check if they already have a consent channel for their use case. This will likely take the form of some source-of-truth database and an API that developers can query before sending messages.
Profiling is the use of data to personalize a customer’s experience. To be compliant with GDPR, organizations should have a clear way for users to opt-out of profiling. The only important thing for developers going forward is understanding what counts as profiling and respecting a users’ choice before implementing any form of personalization.
CCPA and GDPR are revolutionizing the data privacy sector, and organizations must comply with these regulations. Developers and marketers alike are going to have to find new ways in which they can efficiently comply with these regulations without hindering their current performance. Developers need to integrate automation to create a streamlined approach to compliance throughout the organization.