[Updated: August 30, 2023]
As the first comprehensive state privacy law to provide broad consumer rights over personal information, the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (“CCPA”) is a groundbreaking privacy law in the United States, and it paved the way for subsequent state comprehensive privacy laws.
However, the road to progress is rarely smooth, and the CCPA has experienced a long and arduous journey toward changing how covered entities handle Californians’ personal information. To capture the breadth of this journey, we created the following timeline, which catalogues key events from the CCPA’s inception to its current state.
October 12, 2017 – Alastair Mactaggart, Rick Arney, and Mary Stone Ross file a ballot initiative containing the preliminary language of the CCPA.
December 18, 2017 – The CCPA is proposed as a ballot proposition by Californians for Consumer Privacy. The California Attorney General approves the initiative’s language, allowing the group to begin collecting signatures to qualify the initiative for the November 2018 election.
February 13, 2018 – Assemblymember Ed Chau introduces SB 1121 to the California Senate Committee on Rules, a bill with language similar to the CCPA ballot initiative.
May 13, 2018 – Mactaggart’s group, now called Californians for Consumer Privacy, claim they have submitted over 600,000 signatures, surpassing the 366,000 minimum needed to qualify the initiative for the November 2018 ballot.
June 22, 2018 – California legislators negotiate an agreement with Californians for Consumer Privacy to pass a substantially similar version of the CCPA in exchange for the withdrawal of the ballot proposition.
June 25, 2018 – California Secretary of State Alex Padilla confirms receipt of the required signatures, and will certify the initiative as qualified for the November 2018 ballot.
September 13, 2018 – The California legislature passes amendments to the CCPA, clarifying the law’s private right of action and certain other provisions.
September 25, 2019 – Alastair Mactaggart, Board Chair and Founder of Californians for Consumer Privacy, files an initiative for the California Privacy Rights Act (“CPRA”) to appear on the November 2020 ballot. Mactaggart hopes the CPRA will modify the CCPA’s statutory language, in part, by providing consumers with additional privacy rights and establishing a new authority dedicated to protecting these rights, the California Privacy Protection Agency (the “Agency”).
October 11, 2019 – The California Attorney General releases a notice of proposed CCPA regulations, seeking to clarify the law’s obligations on businesses. California Governor Gavin Newsom signs five CCPA amendments into law:
- AB 25, which temporarily excludes employment information from many of the CCPA’s requirements until January 1, 2021.
- AB 874, which excludes “publicly available information” from the definition of personal information and clarifies that deidentified or aggregate information is not personal information.
- AB 1146, which exempts certain vehicle and vehicle ownership data from the law.
- AB 1355, which modifies how businesses make privacy rights disclosures to consumer and allows for differential treatment of consumers related to the value of the consumer’s information to the business.
- AB 1564, which modifies how covered businesses must allow consumers to submit privacy rights requests.
November 13, 2019 – Californians for Consumer Privacy submit the final draft of the CPRA ballot initiative, which includes substantive changes to previous drafts.
December 6, 2019 – California Attorney General releases a 250-page document detailing public comments received regarding the CCPA and proposed CCPA regulations.
December 17, 2019 – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra releases the title and summary for the CPRA initiative that Mactaggart filed on September 25, 2019. With this release, the Californians for Consumer Privacy group can begin collecting signatures to qualify the CPRA for the November 2020 ballot.
January 1, 2020 – The CCPA takes effect. Covered entities have until June before enforcement begins.
February 3, 2020 – The first legal complaint citing the CCPA is filed in the Northern District of California. Plaintiffs sue Hanna Andersson and Salesforce.com over a data breach suffered by Hanna Andersson.
February 10, 2020 – California Attorney General issues a set of proposed modifications to the proposed CCPA regulations.
March 11, 2020 – California Attorney General issues another set of proposed modifications to the proposed CCPA regulations, which includes removing an opt-out icon requirement.
March 17, 2020 – A group of advertising companies sends the California Attorney General a letter requesting a delay in CCPA enforcement, citing the COVID-19 pandemic as the reason.
May 4, 2020 – Californians for Consumer Privacy announce that they have submitted over 900,000 signatures to qualify the CPRA for the November 2020 ballot.
June 1, 2020 – California Attorney General submits the proposed CCPA regulations to the California Office of Administrative Law.
June 8, 2020 – Californians for Consumer Privacy file a petition in state court, contending that the California Secretary of State failed to verify the signatures necessary to place the CPRA on the November 2020 ballot. The group requests that the court order the Secretary of State to direct local election officials to report the results of signature sampling and therefore allow the CPRA ballot initiative to be certified in time.
June 19, 2020 – A California judge grants Californians for Consumer Privacy’s petition, ordering counties to finish verifying signatures to qualify the CPRA for the November 2020 ballot.
June 25, 2020 – The CPRA qualifies for the November 2020 ballot as Proposition 24.
July 1, 2020 – The CCPA becomes enforceable by the California Attorney General.
August 14, 2020 – The CCPA regulations submitted by the California Attorney General on June 1, 2020, take effect.
September 25, 2020 – California Governor Gavin Newsom signs AB 713 into law, establishing new CCPA exemptions for certain types of medical and health information.
September 29, 2020 – California Governor Gavin Newsom signs AB 1281 into law, extending CCPA exemptions for employment data and business-to-business data until January 1, 2022, conditional upon the CPRA ballot initiative not being approved. However, the ballot initiative is later approved, and the CPRA amends the CCPA by extending the exemptions to January 1, 2023.
November 3, 2020 – California voters approve Proposition 24, the CPRA. The CPRA amends the statutory language of the CCPA, notably by providing consumers with additional privacy rights, establishing enhanced obligations for covered businesses, and establishing a new authority dedicated to protecting these rights, the Agency.  The CPRA’s amendments also empower the Agency to implement and enforce the amended CCPA statute, which includes calling on the Agency to adopt implementing regulations by July 1, 2022, with enforcement commencing a year later on July 1, 2023.
NOTE: Regarding the CCPA’s dual enforcement
The California Constitution establishes the Attorney General as the state’s chief law officer, vesting the position with broad powers to ensure the state’s laws are uniformly and adequately enforced. This authority includes enforcing the CCPA, which expressly recognizes that the Attorney General may bring civil actions against violators.
Yet, in a legislative move that distinguishes California from other states with comprehensive privacy laws, the CCPA (via the CPRA amendments passed on November 3, 2020) also vests the Agency with authority to bring administrative actions against violators.
This creates a dual enforcement mechanism: the Attorney General can bring civil actions; the Agency, administrative actions. Both authorities are enforcing the same statutory text of the CCPA and its supplemental regulations, but each authority uses a different procedural means of achieving that enforcement.
Furt6hermore, in accordance with its Constitutional authority as chief law officer, the Attorney General can request the Agency stay an administrative action or investigation to allow the Attorney General an opportunity to determine whether to pursue an investigation or action. The Agency cannot do the same to the Attorney General.
January 1, 2021 – Had the CPRA not amended the CCPA’s statutory language, the CCPA’s employment data and business-to-business (“B2B”) data exemptions would have expired on this day. This would have obligated covered businesses to extend privacy rights to employees, contractors, and job applicants. However, the CPRA amendments extended these exemptions to January 1, 2023.
March 15, 2021 – Amendments to the CCPA regulations, which had become operative on August 14, 2020, come into effect.
June 2021 – California Attorney General commences an enforcement sweep of large retailers to determine whether they violate the CCPA by continuing to sell personal information after a consumer signals an opt-out via Global Privacy Control (“GPC”).
October 4, 2021 – Ashkan Soltani is selected as the Executive Director of the Agency. In this role, Soltani must carry out the day-to-day operations of the Agency, which includes building and leading the Agency, overseeing the Agency’s enforcement activities, and building public awareness.
October 5, 2021 – California Governor Gavin Newsom signs AB 694 into law, which amends the CPRA’s statutory amendments by clarifying the Agency’s rulemaking authority and changing certain definitions and exemptions. Governor Newsom also signs AB 825 into law, which amends the CCPA’s definition of personal information to include genetic data.
October 8, 2021 – California Governor Gavin Newsom signs AB 335 into law, which exempts certain vessel information from the CCPA’s right to opt out.
October 21, 2021 – The Agency notifies the California Attorney General that it is prepared to assume rulemaking responsibilities. Rulemaking authority will transfer to the Agency six months after this notice.
January 1, 2022 – The CPRA’s 12-month lookback period for collected personal information commences. While the CPRA amendments to the CCPA will not take effect until January 1, 2023, the law provides consumers with the right to know what information a covered business has collected from them going back 12 months (i.e., January 1, 2022).
May 5, 2022 – The California Office of Administrative Law (OAL), pursuant to Section 100 of OAL’s regulations, approves the transfer of the existing CCPA regulations to Title 11, Division 6, a new division of the California Code of Regulations that is under the jurisdiction of the Agency. This transfer represents the beginning of the Agency’s rulemaking role.
July 1, 2022 – The Agency fails to meet the statutory deadline to finalize and adopt CPRA regulations. However, the CPRA’s statutory amendments to the CCPA become fully enforceable.
July 8, 2022 – The Agency releases a notice of proposed CPRA regulations, which will update existing CCPA regulations to harmonize them with CPRA amendments to the CCPA, operationalize new privacy rights and obligations introduced by the CPRA, and consolidate requirements set forth in the law to make the regulations easier to follow and understand.
August 23, 2022 – California Attorney General Rob Bonta, based on findings from the June 2021 enforcement sweep, brings a complaint against Sephora, Inc., the French multinational retailer of personal care and beauty products, alleging Sephora violated the CCPA by failing to satisfy its notice obligations under the law, failing to provide a “Do Not Sell . . .” link on its website, and failing to honor opt-out signals sent by consumers using GPC.
August 24, 2022 – Sephora agrees to a settlement with the California Attorney General, resolving allegations that the company violated the CCPA. The settlement requires Sephora to pay $1.2 million and, in part, to honor opt-out signals sent by consumers using GPC.
August 31, 2022 – The California legislature adjourns without enacting Assembly Bill 1102, which would have extended the CCPA’s employment data and business-to-business (“B2B”) data exemptions to January 1, 2025. The exemptions are set to expire on January 1, 2023.
October 27, 2022 – The Global Privacy Assembly votes to admit the Agency as a full voting member. The Global Privacy Assembly is an international forum of over 130 data protection and privacy authorities, and the Agency joins the Federal Trade Commission as the second voting member from the United States.
November 3, 2022 – The Agency releases a notice of proposed modifications to the proposed CPRA regulations.
January 1, 2023 – The CPRA amendments to the CCPA become fully operational. The CCPA’s employment data and B2B data exemptions expire, making the CCPA’s privacy rights applicable to employees, contractors, and job applicants.
February 3, 2023 – The Agency votes to adopt and approve the CPRA regulations.
February 10, 2023 – Pursuant to the CPRA amendments directing the Agency to issue regulations, the Agency issues an invitation for preliminary comments on proposed rulemaking on cybersecurity audits, risk assessments, and automated decision making.
February 14, 2023 – The Agency files the final CPRA regulations with the California Office of Administrative Law, initiating a 30-business day review period.
March 30, 2023 – The California Office of Administrative Law approves the CPRA regulations, making them effective immediately and leaving covered businesses with only three months to satisfy the requirements before the original July 1, 2023 enforcement date. Later that day, the California Chamber of Commerce brings suit against the Agency, seeking a delay of enforcement of the CPRA regulations for a period of one year.
May 12, 2023 – The Asia Pacific Privacy Authorities (“APPA”) vote to admit the Agency as a member. The APPA provides members with the opportunity to exchange best practices related to the management of privacy inquiries and complaints, and the Agency joins the Federal Trade Commission as the second member organization from the United States.
June 30, 2023 – One day before the CPRA regulations would have become enforceable, the Sacramento County Superior Court grants the Chamber of Commerce’s request for an injunction and delays enforcement of the CPRA regulations until March 29, 2024.
NOTE: Leveraging the delay to satisfy the CPRA regulations
While the immediate enforcement date of the CPRA regulations remains uncertain due to the Agency’s appeal of the trial court’s injunction, businesses should not see this uncertainty as a reason to ignore the CPRA regulations. The delayed enforcement of the CPRA regulations is exactly that: a delay, not a termination.
Businesses should use this time to ensure their practices and policies align with both current requirements and the delayed regulations looming on the temporal horizon. The Agency and the California Attorney General have signaled an eagerness to enforce the stayed regulations and will likely use this time to rev up its Enforcement Division in preparation for the inevitable day when the regulations become enforceable.
July 1, 2023 – Had the Sacramento County Superior Court not granted the Chamber of Commerce’s request for an injunction and delayed enforcement of the CPRA regulations until March 29, 2024, the CPRA regulations would have become enforceable on this day.
July 14, 2023 – California Attorney General Rob Bonta announces an investigative sweep through inquiry letters sent to large California employers, requesting information on the companies’ compliance with the CCPA with respect to personal information of employees and job applicants.
Same day, the Agency holds a public board meeting at which Michael Macko, Deputy Director of Enforcement at the Agency, announces that, despite the Sacramento County Superior Court decision on June 30, 2023, the Agency expects to conduct “vigorous enforcement over the coming year.”
NOTE: Regarding the Agency’s enforcement priorities.
Macko added that the Agency will use its prosecutorial discretion to prioritize certain topics and areas. These include:
Right to delete personal information. Again, even prior to the CPRA amendments, the CCPA required businesses to respect a consumer’s right to delete personal information. Macko described this right as “well established,” and the Agency will review whether and how businesses are complying with this “long-standing” right.
Implementation of consumer requests. For years now, businesses covered by the CCPA have had to operationalize both internal and a consumer-facing means of respecting consumer privacy rights requests. As such, the Agency will focus its efforts on reviewing how businesses have actually implemented means of respecting these requests. Specifically, the Agency will analyze whether a business has implemented “barriers” to prevent consumers from actualizing those rights.
July 31, 2023 – The Agency announces that it will review the data privacy practices of connected vehicle manufacturers and related connected vehicle technology.
August 4, 2023 – The Agency and California Attorney General Rob Bonta file a petition with California’s Third District Court of Appeal to overturn the Sacramento County Superior Court decision that imposed a 12-month delay on enforcement of the CPRA regulations.
August 9, 2023 – The Dubai International Financial Centre (“DIFC”) issues an adequacy determination establishing the CCPA’s equivalence with the DIFC’s data protection law. Although the DIFC and its data protection law are limited in jurisdiction and applicability, this adequacy determination sets precedent of an international authority granting adequacy status to a state within the United States.
August 29, 2023 – CPPA releases draft cybersecurity audit and risk assessment regulations, which will be discussed during their September 8 board meeting.
March 29, 2024 – Expected date when the Agency and the California Attorney General can enforce the CPRA regulations.
 CCPA (pre-CPRA amendments), sec. 1798.145(n)(3).
 California Chamber of Commerce vs. California Privacy Protection Agency (March 30, 2023) 34-2023-80004106-CU-WM-GDS (complaint).