2019 saw a spike of activity to protect online privacy as governments around the globe grappled with new revelations of data breaches and privacy violations. While much of the privacy action came from outside the U.S., such as the passage of Kenya’s data protection law and Europe’s enforcement of its GDPR privacy regulation, California represented a bright spot for American privacy.
Amidst gridlock in Congress over federal privacy rules, California marched forward with its landmark privacy law, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which goes into effect on January 1, 2020. Mozilla has long been a supporter of data privacy laws that empower people — including CCPA. In fact, we were one of the few companies to endorse CCPA back in 2018 when it was before the California legislature.
The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) expands the rights of Californians over their data – and provides avenues for the Attorney General to investigate and enforce those rights, as well as allowing Californians to sue. Californians now have the right to know what personal information is being collected, to access it, to update and correct it, to delete it, to know who their data is being shared with, and to opt-out of the sale of their data.
Much of what the CCPA requires companies to do moving forward is in line with how Firefox already operates and handles data. We’ve long believed that your data is not our data, and that privacy online is fundamental. Nonetheless, we are taking steps to go above and beyond what’s expected in CCPA.
Here’s how we are bringing CCPA to life for Firefox users.
CCPA rights for everyone.
When Europe passed its GDPR privacy law we made sure that all users, whether located in the EU or not, were afforded the same rights under the law. As a company that believes privacy is fundamental to the online experience, we felt that everyone should benefit from the rights laid out in GDPR. That is why our new settings and privacy notice applied to all of our users.
With the passage and implementation of CCPA, we will do the same. Changes we are making in the browser will apply to every Firefox user, not just those in California.
Deleting your data.
One of CCPA’s key new provisions is its expanded definition of “personal data” under CCPA. This expanded definition allows for users to request companies delete their user specific data.
As a rule, Firefox already collects very little of your data. In fact, most of what we receive is to help us improve the performance and security of Firefox. We call this telemetry data. This telemetry doesn’t tell us about the websites you visit or searches you do; we just know general information, like a Firefox user had a certain amount of tabs opened and how long their session was. We don’t collect telemetry about private browsing mode and we’ve always given people easy options to disable telemetry in Firefox. And because we’ve long believed that data should not be stored forever, we have strict limits on how long we keep telemetry data.
We’ve decided to go the extra mile and expand user deletion rights to include deleting this telemetry data stored in our systems. To date, the industry has not typically considered telemetry data “personal data” because it isn’t identifiable to a specific person, but we feel strongly that taking this step is the right one for people and the ecosystem.
In line with the work we’ve done this year to make privacy easier and more accessible to our users, the deletion control will be built into Firefox and will begin rolling out in the next version of the browser on January 7. This setting will provide users a way to request deletion for desktop telemetry directly from Firefox – and a way for us, at Mozilla, to perform that deletion.
For Firefox, privacy is not optional. We don’t think people should have to choose between the technology they love and their privacy. We think you should have both. That’s why we are taking these steps to bring additional protection to all our users under CCPA. And why we will continue to press in 2020 – through the products we build and the policies we advocate – for an Internet that gives people the privacy and security they deserve.