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What Are Consumer Privacy Laws?

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If you are new to online privacy, you may wonder what consumer privacy laws are. Many of the best websites and online shopping platforms have adopted a number of practices that impact consumer privacy, which is where the various online privacy laws come into play. So why do we need consumer privacy laws, what are the major regulations, and how do these laws help average consumers? Keep reading to find out.


  • There are no comprehensive consumer privacy protections on the federal level to cover all Americans, though there are consumer reporting agencies for taking civil actions.
  • However, some states like California, Virginia, and Colorado have robust privacy policies on the books.
  • Europe also has the General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, which is similar to California’s CCPA suite of privacy practices for consumer requests.

Why Do We Need Consumer Privacy Laws?

Before learning all about the CCPA and related laws, it is helpful to learn why these regulations exist in the first place. Whenever you sign up for a new service online, they likely keep track of your personal information and sell it to the highest bidder, which is where “do not sell” CCPA rules come into play, among others. This means you will start to get unwanted marketing emails and phone calls, leading many to learn all about the GDPR.

Insider Tip

Many companies like Spotify and Apple abide by the CCPA regulations throughout the whole country.

What are the Major Consumer Privacy Laws?

Luckily, there are some laws in place designed to help protect consumers from unwanted data brokerage and other nefarious practices.


CCPA stands for the California Consumer Privacy Act, and it is a set of robust privacy regulations that primarily benefit California citizens, though some of the included rules impact consumers everywhere so long as they engage in services by California-based companies. This act, and the associated regulatory agency, enhance online privacy for individual consumers by reducing instances of data brokerage. The act was passed in 2018 and created a number of rights for Internet users, such as the right to opt-out to the sale of any personal information collected by a company and to request the deletion of personal information like social security numbers. Virginia and Colorado have similar laws on the books. It is worth noting that there is no meaningful legislation to help Americans on the federal level.

STAT: Comprehensive legislative proposals generally regulate the collection, use, and disclosure of personal information by businesses and provide an express set of consumer rights for collected data, such as the right to access, correct, and delete personal information collected by businesses. (source)


Looking for something with a larger and more global scope? The General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, is similar to the CCPA and impacts residents of the European Union (EU.) These rulings pertain to any information about natural persons within the region, so this law does not impact anonymous accounts. Just like the CCPA, this ruling allows consumers to opt-out of giving some personal information.

Consumer Laws FAQs

What is consumer privacy, and which laws protect it?

Consumer privacy indicates that companies cannot pursue unauthorized access to personal information, or they will face steep civil penalties.

Where can I go if I need more advice?

If you need more advice regarding privacy policies, civil actions, civil penalties, and consumer requests, contact a legal counsel well-versed in comprehensive privacy laws, consumer data protection acts, and consumer privacy rights.

What violates consumer protection laws?

Selling the information of natural persons without permission violates these privacy policies and opens up companies to civil actions, so long as the companies are based in California, Virginia, and Colorado.

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