California Attorney General Announces Focus on Mobile Apps

On January 27, 2023, California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced an investigative sweep focused on mobile apps’ compliance with the California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”). As part of the sweep, the AG’s office sent letters to businesses that offer popular mobile apps, with a focus on the retail, travel, and food service industries. The investigation was targeted at those apps that are believed to fail to offer any mechanism for consumers who wish to opt out of data sales and those that failed to process consumer requests submitted via an authorized agent. In announcing the sweep, AG Bonta stated: “On this Data Privacy Day and every day, businesses must honor Californians’ right to opt out and delete personal information, including when those requests are made through an authorized agent.”

This recent announcement is the latest indication that the California AG’s office will be focused on enforcing what is arguably the nation’s most stringent privacy law. It follows AG Bonta’s August 2022 announcement of a significant settlement with Sephora that resolved allegations that the beauty company failed to disclose to consumers that it was selling their personal information and failed to process opt-out requests via user-enabled global privacy controls, each in claimed violation of the CCPA. In addition, the AG launched an online tool that allows consumers who identify a violation of the CCPA to report it.