WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. retailers including Walmart Inc will add “Do Not Sell My Info” links to their websites and signage in stores starting Jan. 1, allowing California shoppers to understand for the first time what personal and other data the retailers collect, sources said.
Others like Home Depot will allow shoppers not just in California but around the country to access such information online. At its California stores, Home Depot will add signs, offer QR codes so shoppers can look up information using their mobile devices and train store employees to answer questions.
Large U.S retailers are rushing to comply with a new law, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which becomes effective at the start of 2020 and is one of the most significant regulations overseeing the data collection practices of U.S. companies. It lets shoppers opt out of allowing retailers and other companies to sell personal data to third parties.
In addition to retailers, the law affects a broad swath of firms including social media platforms such as Facebook and Alphabet’s Google, advertisers, app developers, mobile service providers and streaming TV services, and is likely to overhaul the way companies benefit from the use of personal information.
The law follows Europe’s controversial General Data Protection Regulation, which set a new standard for how companies collect, store and use personal data. The European law gave companies years to comply while CCPA has given them a few months.
Draft regulations around the law were released in October. Retailers did not anticipate having to add signs in their stores, which are required by the regulations but were not part of the original statute. Requiring signs in stores is not an effective use of retailers’ dollars, said Nicholas Ahrens, a vice president at the Retail Industry Leaders Association, who leads its tech policy.
A Walmart source with knowledge of the matter told Reuters the company is “working through a lot of ambiguities in the law, for example, the language around loyalty programs and if retail companies can offer them going forward.”
There is also lack of clarity on what constitutes “sale” of information, retail lobbyists and attorneys advising retailers said.