California’s CCPA – What Banks Need to Know

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The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) goes into effect on January 1, 2020 and enforcement measures are scheduled to start six months later. Banks that do business with the state of California and its residents need to protect themselves and get compliant with the CCPA, hailed as “America’s answer to the GDPR.”

A quick view of the CCPA

The CCPA establishes data privacy rights for Californians and, starting soon, this law applies to businesses that sell products and services to California residents and collect information about them.

Under the CCPA, California residents have the right to:

  • Know what personal information is collected about them.
  • Know whether their personal information is sold or disclosed and to whom.
  • Opt out of allowing businesses to sell their personal information.
  • Access the personal information collected about them—in the last 12 months—and receive it in a user-friendly format.
  • Equal service and price, no matter what privacy options they choose.
  • Erase personal data collected (in some situations).


This act means Californians can opt out of many secondary uses of their personal information including sales to data brokers, tracking and other uses not directly related to service delivery.

Defining personal information under the CCPA

Section 1798.140, subdivision (o) of the CCPA defines personal information and it’s a long list that includes—but isn’t limited to—identifiers, categories listed in subdivision (e) of Section 1798.80, characteristics of protected classifications, commercial information, biometric information, internet and other electronic network activity, geolocation data, audio, electronic, visual, thermal, olfactory information, professional, employment and education information (that’s not already publicly available) and inferences drawn from information collected.

Call your privacy lawyers and experts because this list is exhaustive; staying in compliance will be complicated and being out of compliance will be costly.

Penalties and fees associated with the CCPA

Like the GDPR, the CCPA has teeth when it comes to penalties. PWC reports that the private right of action damages will be between $100 and $750 per consumer, per breach. And the regulator enforcement penalties will be “up to $2,500 per unintentional violation and $7,500 per intentional violation.”

The impact of the CCPA on banking institutions

As more states institute their own consumer privacy laws, it becomes increasingly complicated for national banks to remain compliant across state borders. Today we’re talking about California but Vermont and South Carolina just passed laws about data collection and breach notification respectively.

Banks must understand privacy laws in all states and countries they do business in and have the processes and products in place to stay compliant with these regulations. They should also expect this trend of patchwork privacy laws to continue and be prepared to adapt to ever-evolving privacy laws.

Any banks that have European clients are (or should be) GDPR compliant so there’s less work for them to do now as the GDPR and the CCPA have many overlapping requirements. Part of that work includes analyzing data flows, implementing processes to meet the needs of the new regulation and clearly documenting all data and data policies.

Encrypted communications are part of the solution because encryption keeps protected personal information safe at rest and in transit. The Echoworx encryption platform makes encryption the path of least resistance which is essential in highly-regulated industries such as banking, financial services and insurance.

How Echoworx — a flexible encryption solution — helps banks navigate the CCPA

Encryption is a tool that allows organizations to enhance data protection and breach notification practices.

Encryption is considered:

  • An appropriate technical and organizational measure for securing personal data when implemented with other appropriate controls to protect the encryption process.
  • An appropriate safeguard for processing personal data for a different purpose than the one it was collected for.

But encryption only works when it’s used. And, in a recent survey of IT professionals and IT decision-makers, we found that although encryption is a priority for most organizations, less than half the organizations with encryption software use it extensively.

That’s because many encryption solutions are difficult for employees and clients to use where encryption becomes an extra step; when security is outside of the regular workflow, people are less likely to use it.

We built our encryption platform to seamlessly integrate into existing workflows and make encryption and secure communications the path of least resistance.

Echoworx features that help banks navigate privacy regulations, including the GDPR and CCPA:

  • Definable policies – This feature allows you to control which communications get encrypted (and how) based on the message content. This is set up during implementation—based on your needs and encryption best practices. Flexible controls for every scenario allow you to create a customizable user experience for senders and recipients and stay in control of encrypted messages in transit and at rest.
  • Automatic inbound encryption – Emails with sensitive information—including protected personal information—are automatically identified, securely routed to the web portal and encrypted. Encrypted delivery methods include TLS encryption, encrypted PDFs and attachments, certificate encryption and web portal encryption.
  • Secure statement delivery – Senders can batch and deliver sensitive encrypted messages, like financial statements, direct to recipient inboxes in encrypted PDF format, that’s also password protected.
  • Breach notifications – Senders can leverage Echoworx to deliver encrypted and protected communications and notifications to their customers in the instance of a breach.

Besides making encryption the path of least resistance, a recent Forrester Total Economic Impact™ study, revealed that a typical enterprise-level organization using Echoworx’s encryption platform can expect an ROI of 155 per cent—with upwards of $2.7M in cost-mitigating benefits and a payback period of seven months.

The clock is ticking on the California Consumer Privacy Act. Why wait to make our user-friendly encryption solution part of your compliance strategy?

By: Brian Cole, Senior Manager Security Operations and Support, Echoworx


What You Should Do Now

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