Just in case: what you must know about the new California online privacy law

This summer, California passed the toughest data privacy law in the United States. The new law will absolutely impact everyone that uses social media, regardless of where they live, and professionals that rely on social media for branding, marketing, communication — or to collect social media evidence in the case of litigation.

The California law is an attempt to impost consumer privacy safeguards. It will allow consumers to review the data collected by social media and online channels, and opt out of data gathering altogether if they choose.

What does that mean for consumers, business owners, and legal professionals? In short, the greater scrutiny of collected data could lead to changes in how that information is gathered, stored, and distributed. It could become even harder to collect credible social media and online evidence for anyone not familiar with the new policies and savvy enough to research effectively.

Online Privacy Laws And Social Media Evidence

Although the law is scheduled to take effect in 2020, the time is now to learn more about how social media law and online evidence may impact your organization. The California law is only one in a series of new regulations passed both at home and abroad, as general support for privacy protection becomes more common.

For example, in Europe this summer the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) took effect. The GDPR is a data protection and privacy law similar that will also allow consumers to request information about social media data use and storage.

And it’s not just the United States and the European Union that are seeking to legislate protections to guard online data and social media use. You can read about additional laws and regulations in China here, and cases in India here. These laws can influence and impact what happens here in the United States.

But the new laws could have unintended consequences for anyone not savvy about gathering data for legitimate purposes. The use of defensible social media and online evidence is critical to prevent against fraud in a host of industries, including health care, insurance, and throughout other business organizations that use it to monitor employee activities and conduct screenings.

For that reason, it will become increasingly important for business leaders to be savvy about the web discovery as well as how to properly store and utilize data. We recommend the following four critical steps for organizations to follow in the wake of the California privacy law to prevent a costly misstep that could lead to litigation, or prevent the legitimate use of critical social media and online evidence.

How To Protect Your Organization In The Wake Of New Data Privacy Laws

  1. We recommend that you get educated. Don’t wait for the new law California law to take effect, or others like it to be passed. Take a proactive approach to learning more about how to stay ahead of privacy laws that could impact your organization. Or, find a consultant or expert with the knowledge you need.
  2. Use a trusted, reputable partner to help you with your web discovery needs. At SMI Aware, we specialize in the ethical gathering of defensible social media and online evidence. We recommend that you don’t try to go it alone, and risk making a rookie mistake by having someone in house try to learn as they go.
  3. Do regular, preemptive reporting. Waiting to gather the evidence you need will only make it more likely that savvy legal professionals or individuals will lock down their data. Don’t miss out.
  4. Know when to request a deep report. Don’t know what a deep report is? Visit us online to learn more.

Whatever you do, don’t wait to take the next steps to get the social media and online information your organization needs!


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