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Privacy Policies for Online B2C – It’s the Law!

Does your site have a privacy policy? Many websites do.  It’s generally understood that these online privacy policies should outline an online business' policy regarding the handling of personal information it collects from private individuals. 

Legislation Regarding Website Privacy Policies
What you may not be aware of is the California Online Privacy Protection Act (“OPPA”).  This statute regulates when a website is required to have a privacy policy, and, if so, what its format must be on the site, and what substantive content must be set out.  Furthermore, OPPA is not limited to websites with stated California addresses.

OPPA Can Apply Everywhere
OPPA’s reach includes all applicable websites, not just those with a physical location in California.  If your website is subject to OPPA, then there is a good chance that it will be visited by a California consumer.  Just getting one email kicks OPPA into play. 

Websites Subject to OPPA 
OPPA is directed at commercial websites and online services that collect personally identifiable information through their site from California consumers. In essence, the statute is directed at business-to consumer (B2C) websites. OPPA defines a "consumer" as “any individual who seeks or acquires, by purchase or lease, any goods, services, money, or credit for personal, family, or household purposes.”   OPPA applies to any person or entity that owns a commercial website or online service which collects and maintains personally identifiable information from California consumers.

Who’s Not Subject to OPPA
OPPA does not apply to any third party that operates, hosts, or manages, a website or online service on the owner's behalf or that processes information on the owner's behalf so long as it does not own the website. Nor did the legislation intend to include websites that deal only with other businesses i.e., a business-to-business (B2B) website.

Where to Find More Information
To get details of this statute, you can contact us at or search on the “California Online Privacy Protection Act” where you will find the BUSINESS AND PROFESSIONS CODE SECTION 22575-22579.

Martha Lee
Founder and CEO
Get In Position

John R. Bobay
Attorney at Law
Law Offices of John R. Bobay

This article is not intended as legal advice or as a substitute for it nor is it intended to create an attorney client relationship with John R. Bobay.  The reader should consult an attorney of their own choice for receiving legal advice about any of the issues raised in this article. 




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