What is Sensitive Personal Information Under CCPA?

Lawrence Bonk Profile image

Written by:

Updated January 6, 2023

If you are new to online privacy, you may wonder what sensitive personal information is under the CCPA. Many of the best websites and online shopping platforms have adopted a number of practices that could impact consumer privacy, which is why the CCPA exists in the first place. So what is the CCPA, what is considered sensitive personal information with the CCPA, and how does this help consumers? Keep reading to find out.


  • CCPA stands for the California Consumer Privacy Act, which was passed in 2018 at the behest of several civil actions.
  • The act ensures that companies inform consumers in the case of a hack that includes personal information.
  • This sensitive personal information includes ethnic origin, gender, sexual orientation, sex life data, social security numbers, and all manner of financial data.

For more information, read up on CCPA notice requirements, the “Do Not Sell” stance of the CCPA, exactly what the CCPA considers sensitive information, and whether cookies slow down your computer.

Insider Tip

Not just California has passed regulations like the CCPA, as states such as Virginia have also gotten in on the act.

What is the CCPA?

Before getting into what constitutes personal information, let’s go over the origins and purpose of the CCPA. CCPA stands for the California Consumer Privacy Act. It is an online privacy initiative that primarily benefits California citizens but extends to anyone using online services by California-based corporate entities. The act was passed in 2018 and instituted a number of rights for Internet users, such as the right to know about the personal information that is collected and the right to opt-out of the sale of that personal information. It also mandates that companies inform consumers when they have inadvertently become part of a security breach.

These security breaches involve the disbursement of personal information stored on the company’s servers.

What Does the CCPA Classify as Personal Information?

The CCPA dictates a number of items that fall under the umbrella of personal information and, as such, are bound by the laws included within the regulatory act.

Personal Data

If hackers snap up your government-issued photo ID, that is considered personal information and falls under the purview of the CCPA. Personal information may also include boilerplate stuff like name, age, address, and phone number, but this depends on the fine print of the service you use. A consumer’s race, religious affiliation, gender, and sexuality are all off-limits here and fall under the CCPA’s mandate as personal information. In other words, if a hacker snaps up any of this information, it is illegal for the company not to inform you of the act.

STAT: The California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (CCPA) gives consumers more control over the personal information that businesses collect about them, and the CCPA regulations provide guidance on how to implement the law. (source)

Financial Information

Financial information falls under the purview of the CCPA, as leaking this data could cause permanent harm to the consumer, including identity theft. This type of personal information includes bank login information, such as passwords, financial account details, debit card numbers, credit card numbers, security access codes, and various banking credentials. Basically, if it can be used for identity theft, it is considered personal information under the CCPA.

CCPA Personal Information FAQs

Who does the CCPA apply to?

The CCPA and its related privacy laws and privacy policies apply to California residents and anyone using a service that is based in California.

What are the requirements for processing personal information?

Privacy policies and privacy laws state that any natural person has a right to know whether their personal information has been stolen, thus giving them time to seek legal advice. The GDPR states that there are six legal bases for this activity. They are: an individual has given consent for their information to be processed, that the information is necessary to complete a contract with the individual, that there is a legitimate basis or vital interest for the processing of said personal information, or that there is a legal requirement for it or that it is in the public interest.

Are cookies defined as personal information under the CCPA?

Yes, digital cookies often feature a footprint that can include personal information, such as your social security number, various security codes, government records, identification card information, and more.
Lawrence Bonk Profile image