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Demystifying the California Consumer Privacy Act: What You Need to Know

At last month’s AdMonsters Ops 2019 conference in NYC, I sought to help the audience of the ‘Privacy Please’ panel understand the attention-getting topic of consumer data privacy, and specifically how companies are preparing for the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). This is one of those topics where if you ask six people for their opinion you’ll get 12 answers. And that’s understandable, especially when it comes to CCPA, where the actual language of the law is still going through some important legislative gyrations.

Before getting sucked into the vortex of parsing legalese or hand-wringing about business risk vs. the risks and burdens on consumers, it’s helpful to strip the digital varnish off CCPA and privacy regulations in general and just look at the business principles involved. After all, this was an Ad Ops conference, so grounding the conversation in operational and business principles sets the table for good decisions. Google Ad Manager is the big dog at this conference, with a raft of publishers, ad tech, and agencies all looking to make their platforms and solutions operate as a profitable, responsible business.

It becomes less of a ‘boogieman’ topic when you think, ‘is it reasonable that a business knows where its product (data) comes from; how the product (data) is processed and employed inside the business; and where the product (data) is distributed to outside the business?’

This is not a unique supply chain management principle just for the addressable media business. Walmart understands how disruptive it is if it cannot account for where all its products come from and how they travel. If they have health problems attributed to bad produce in their stores, the issue can cascade into a negative business impact pretty quickly. Last year, Walmart experimented with blockchain to answer, “Where did this avocado come from?” Think about doing identity management for an avocado!

So, identity management is really going to be the driver for the ease or struggles companies will have in addressing CCPA compliance by January 2020.

And, government regulation over identities and communications to individuals isn’t new. Remember someone had to write a law to make it clear that it’s not okay to rob the Pony Express. Also, don’t forget your unique, government-issued ID is also called your postal address; not so much of a boogieman. So, the stewardship and management of consumer data identities is just that — manageable.

Want to learn more? Merkle has an enterprise-wide effort to ensure our business remains the trusted steward of consumer data upon which our clients and their consumers rely. Read more here.