California Consumer Privacy Act vs GDPR

Coby McKinley Profile image

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Updated January 16, 2023

Internet users concerned with consumer privacy rights and data protection laws should compare the California Consumer Privacy Act vs. the GDPR. While these consumer privacy laws seem similar, some key differences exist between the European and American versions. Both acts provide consumer data privacy protections, regulating the data processing activities of public and commercial entities. That said, if you’re curious about which provides stronger privacy regulations, stick around to weigh the California Consumer Privacy Act vs. the GDPR debate.


  • The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) provides consumer data rights for California citizens, and it regulates how companies collect and sell user data.
  • The General Data Protection Regulation Act (GDPR) offers comprehensive consumer data protections and operating guidelines for data-collecting organizations.
  • The GDPR provides stronger data protections and more consumer rights than the CCPA.

Comparing the CCPA and the GDPR

The General Data Protection Regulation Act (GDPR) provides comprehensive data privacy regulation and consumer rights for EU nations. Organizations must respect the GDPR’s legal basis for processing, whether it’s for public or business purposes. If you want more details, check out our guide to what the GDPR is.

Insider Tip

You can submit a Data Subject Access Request to companies under the CCPA, even if you’re not a Californian resident.

The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) is a state-level consumer privacy and data protection law that only covers companies doing business in California. Learning what is a service provider under the CCPA is critical because there are different conditions for businesses and service providers. Additionally, CCPA breach notification laws require profit organizations to report user data leaks.


The GDPR covers all nations in the European Union, which is substantially more than the population of California. Additionally, the CCPA only applies to companies that meet certain thresholds. The GDPR applies to any business that collects data on EU citizens, regardless of where the company is located.

User Rights

The GDPR offers stronger consumer rights than the CCPA, but both provide the right to access and delete personal data. The GDPR also ensures the right to refuse and restrict data processing; collected data must be up-to-date and accurate.


You can face civil penalties if your online business engages in personal data processing without explicit consent.

Consent Management

Under the CCPA, businesses must provide clear disclosure at the point of data collection. Additionally, consumers can object to a company selling their personal data. The GDPR, on the other hand, requires businesses to obtain explicit, affirmative consent from individuals before collecting or processing their personal data.

STAT: A 2019 Pew Research Center survey showed that 38% of Americans claimed they sometimes read a company’s privacy policy before agreeing to it. (source)

California Consumer Privacy Act vs. GDPR FAQs

What if a company violates the CCPA?

The CCPA gives the Attorney General the authority to bring civil actions against businesses that violate the law and to seek fines of up to $7,500 per violation. Additionally, the CCPA also allows consumers to bring private or class-action lawsuits against non-compliant businesses. Consumers can seek statutory damages of up to $750 per consumer per incident, or actual damages, whichever is greater. That said, if a company proves CCPA compliance within 30 days, it can avoid financial penalties.

What are the penalties for violating the GDPR?

The EU DPA (data protection authority) takes action against non-compliant organizations. If a company intentionally violates the GDPR, it faces a maximum fine of about $21 million or 4% of its global annual revenue, whichever is higher. Additionally, consumers have legal grounds for civil class-action lawsuits against companies that mishandle personal data.

What is a Data Protection Officer?

A DPO is a mandatory position that oversees data security measures and privacy practices for commercial and non-profit organizations. Under the GDPR, data-collecting companies must hire a DPO to oversee employee training and report regulation breaches to authorities.
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