In anticipation of preparing rules to implement the California Consumer Privacy Act, the California Attorney General recently announced six public forums that he will host in January and February 2019 across California. On January 8, 2019, the AG hosted the first of these forums in San Francisco. The following provides an overview of the forum and the comments made at the forum.
Overview of the January 8, 2019, San Francisco Forum
Stacey Schesser, the Supervising Deputy Attorney General for the AG’s Privacy Unit, provided opening remarks. Ms. Schesser confirmed that the AG’s office is at the very beginning of its rulemaking process. Although the AG’s office will solicit formal comments after it prepares proposed rules, the AG is interested in receiving detailed written comments from the public with proposed language during this informal period.
These forums appear to be designed to inform the AG’s rulemaking and potentially streamline the process, by allowing public input before rules are drafted. In this regard, Ms. Schesser clarified that she and other AG representatives in attendance at the San Francisco forum were there only to listen to the public comments and would not respond to questions or engage with speakers. As a result, if the remaining forums follow a similar approach, it is unlikely that the forums will elicit meaningful intelligence regarding the AG’s anticipated approach to, or the substance of, the anticipated rulemaking.
Also of note, at the outset of the forum, Ms. Schesser encouraged speakers to focus their oral and written comments on the specific rules that the Act directs the AG to issue:
(1) Categories of Personal Information (PI);
(2) Definition of Unique Identifiers;
(3) Exceptions to the Act;
(4) Submitting and Complying with Requirements;
(5) Uniform Opt-Out Logo/Button;
(6) Notices and Information to Consumers; and
(7) Verification of a Consumer’s Request.
It is not clear whether the AG’s encouraged focus for the public comments reflects the fact that the AG intends to limit rulemaking, at least initially, to only those issues where rules are directed by the Act, as opposed to rules under the AG’s general implementing authority.
Comments Made at the Forum
While the forum was well attended and a significant number of individuals pre-registered to speak, only 14 individuals made comments. Business and trade association representatives (including those from the California Chamber of Commerce, the Network Advertising Initiative, and the California Retailers Association) made ten comments while consumer advocates made four. Each speaker was given five minutes to speak.
Business representatives provided the following noteworthy comments regarding the AG’s rulemaking:
In addition, consumer advocates requested that the AG consider rulemaking on the following:
Dates and Locations of Upcoming Public Forums
The AG will hold five more forums, and information on the time and location can be found on the AG’s website:
The AG encourages those who wish to speak to pre-register here. Individuals can also submit written comments by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail to California Department of Justice, ATTN: Privacy Regulations Coordinator, 300 S. Spring St., Los Angeles, CA 90013. Individuals can subscribe to the AG’s mailing list to receive notifications on CCPA rulemaking here.
We will continue to provide periodic updates on the forums, the AG’s rulemaking process, and other relevant CCPA developments. Stay tuned.