The 4 privacy rights most Americans don’t know they have
Updated: July 27th, 2022
Privacy. What are my rights?
Privacy laws generally focus on giving consumers the right to control what companies can and can’t do with their data. The most common term for this control is to “opt out” from various ways companies use your data. Opt out means telling a company you no longer want them doing something with your data. This can be opting out of marketing emails, not selling your data, or a request to delete your data altogether.
Before privacy laws, companies had no obligation to honor any sort of opt out request and most of them didn’t. That means that they could sell your data, share your data, or keep it in their databases indefinitely and there was nothing you could do about it.
The United States has yet to pass a national law for privacy, but many states, including the largest state, California, have implemented their own laws.
The most comprehensive and far reaching privacy law in the U.S. is the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), that applies to all 40,000,000 California residents and any business in the U.S. that uses their data.
Since most major businesses do business in California at some level, the CCPA has forced most businesses to comply with the regulation even if they don’t have an office or headquarters in the state. It has acted as a de facto national law as a result.
The CCPA (and most privacy laws) gives consumers 4 fundamental privacy rights:
The right to know about the personal information a business collects about them and how it is used and shared;
The right to delete personal information collected from them (with some exceptions);
The right to opt-out of the sale of their personal information (known as Do Not Sell); and
The right to non-discrimination for exercising their CCPA rights.
The right to delete and opt out are the most powerful tools for consumers to protect their personal data from getting into the wrong hands.
Pro Tip: Most companies don’t have the time or resources to validate who lives in California or another state with a privacy law. So if you make a request, they usually just honor the requests regardless of where you live because it’s easier and lower risk for them.
So even if you don’t live in a covered state, you can still use
PrivacyHawk to reduce your privacy risk by getting automatically removed from data broker databases and reducing your digital footprint.
PrivacyHawk also has a free inbox scan feature that can help you easily identify which companies and apps are likely to be using your private information. You can use PrivacyHawk to make delete requests to any apps that no longer need your data.