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The gathering and analysis of data have helped some of the biggest businesses in the world to successfully market to consumers. To Google, Facebook and countless other companies, data has become an invaluable currency. Unlike any other, this currency tells what users likely want and can often forecast when they want it.

However, this new currency doesn’t come without challenges for the party whose job it is to regulate it.

Hello again. I’m On Point Global Chief Administrative Officer Brent Levison and the FTC and its challenge to manage data security and storage is the topic I’m going to discuss with you today.

The Role of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in Data

In many instances, data is something that people want to provide access to. They want to see products and services that are relevant to them and that will help them in their daily lives. At the same time, companies want to match people with these offers.

But then there’s the challenge: How do you ensure that all transactions that involve data are done in a safe way?

After all, we’re talking about personal identifying information like a customer’s name, their credit card number and even their Social Security Number in some instances. This is information that needs to be protected in every circumstance.

That’s where the FTC comes in.

Their main job is to protect the interest of the consumer across all data businesses. They can establish new processes in order to ensure that consumers are safe from fraudulent business and that their information remains secure.

Recent data breaches from companies big and small have made the Federal Trade Commission’s role clear as it relates to keeping consumers safe.

Recent Data Breaches – How the FTC Responds

In the last two decades, there have been thousands of data breaches, which have released countless pieces of vital consumer data. A number of these breaches involved large companies, such as Target and Capital One.

Hundreds of millions of consumers were affected in many of these individual incidents, with some or all of the following information being leaked:

  • Names
  • Social Security Numbers
  • Birth dates
  • Residential addresses
  • Bank numbers
  • Email addresses
  • Passwords

Following the leaks, the FTC worked to ensure that these companies would not experience data breaches again. The Commission does this by ensuring that the companies take necessary steps to prevent leaks in the future by way of upgrading their data security and storage practices.

The European Union currently has a very strong set of protection rules on data, courtesy of 2018’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). However, the United States doesn’t yet have a similar overarching law when it comes to data protection.

Despite that, we are getting closer to the EU’s higher level of data regulations. The first sign of this is the California Consumer Privacy Act that has been signed into law.

The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)

California is now giving residents the legal right to look into the information that companies have legally gathered on them. While this act is only effective in this one state as of writing (Brent Levison on 2/4/2020), it is very likely a sign of laws to come and a small step toward larger online data regulation.

As such, we were quick to update all our websites with CCPA requirements so that we here at On Point Global are FTC compliant.

Currently, the CCPA has the following provisions for residents of California:

  1. They can request information about the data that has been compiled on them from businesses with $25 million+ in revenue each year and companies that collect data on 50K+ people per year.
  2. They can find out about the different types of information that companies have gathered from them, such as the locations of their phones, websites they visit, audio clips they’ve recorded and even face recognition points.
  3. They can also get information about any predictions the businesses have made related to their buying habits, interests and more.
  4. Consumers can find out who their information has been bought from or traded to. They can also select to be kept off of all data sale transactions with marketing partners and other businesses.
  5. Users can make requests to these businesses to have all the information that has been gathered about them deleted.
    1. Whereas the FTC has placed a high level of priority on data security and the way that it is stored, the Federal Trade Commission is also working to ensure that consumers data is only existing in places where customers want it to.

      Customers are now more informed than ever on data practices and how their information is stored and shared. They also have the deserved right to play their own part in the regulation of their personal data. It’s just a matter of ensuring that all new consumers enter the market with the same level of understanding.

      In addition to keeping customers safe, the FTC also helps to keep them informed by providing information online on subjects like how to handle a data breach, customer rights during these instances and more.

      How Brent Levison of On Point Global Strives for FTC Compliance

      Here at On Point Global Miami, we are always striving to be compliant with the FTC and the latest regulations. Looking to establish the same standards within your organization? The key is to look outside of your company walls.

      New laws are being established with a newfound regularity since the creation of data business models. To ensure that you are keeping up with the trends and understanding their requirements correctly, you need to constantly seek expert advice.

      Invest in compliance help now to avoid unnecessary risks.

      Seek counsel and ask about the latest updates. Ask what your company could be doing more of, as it relates to compliance and these new regulations. After all, it is very possible that the CCPA in California is only the beginning of state-specific (or even federal) laws that relate to the security and storage of data.

      The specific legal changes that will occur in 2020 and beyond are still to be written, but you can be sure of two things.

      1. The FTC will become even more involved in the data business to ensure the safety of consumers.
      2. The companies that place a high level of importance on instilling a compliance culture will be the ones that succeed.