FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Raegan Bartlo, VP Communications
User1st: California Consumer Privacy Act Proposed, Modified Regulations
May Have Far-Reaching Digital Accessibility Implications for Businesses
Late last week, the California Attorney General’s office published modified proposed regulations to the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) that may have significant impacts on businesses that are subject to the CCPA. The proposed modifications include a new requirement that CCPA-covered businesses providing CCPA privacy notices and information online must ensure that such notices are “reasonably accessible to consumers” pursuant to industry standards “such as” the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), version 2.1.
“The modifications to the proposed CCPA regulations may have broader implications than just accessibility of the online privacy notices and information. For businesses covered by the CCPA, they should consider whether their sites are accessible for people with disabilities in order to even access those notices,” said Raegan Bartlo, spokesperson at User1st. “CCPA-covered businesses should ensure that they understand that site accessibility and user experience in reaching the CCPA privacy notices and information may be a much bigger hurdle than just making the notices themselves accessible in accordance with the WCAG.”
What are the implications?
Businesses throughout the United States are potentially subject to the CCPA; this is not just an issue for businesses located in California. Furthermore, websites hosting, linking to, or otherwise directing consumers to the CCPA privacy notices and information will need to be accessible in order to ensure that individuals with disabilities can reasonably navigate, find, or access such notices and information. Businesses, therefore, should not only be reviewing whether they are subject to the CCPA, but also consider the processes to navigate to and access online privacy notices to make sure that they are digitally accessible just as much as the notices themselves.
Understanding WCAG 2.1
Digital accessibility is the ability of a website, mobile application, or electronic document to be easily navigated and understood by all users of varied abilities, including those who have visual, auditory, motor or cognitive disabilities.
WCAG, published by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), is an internationally recognized set of standards that offers companies a strong foundation for delivering digital accessibility. The U.S. Department of Justice has also recognized the WCAG as the applicable digital accessibility standard in various consent decrees with private companies under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
WCAG 2.1 covers a wide range of recommendations for making web content more accessible to people with disabilities, including blindness and low vision, deafness and hearing loss, learning disabilities, cognitive limitations, limited movement, speech disabilities, and/or photosensitivity. The W3C lays out web accessibility principles in its quick reference guide to help businesses make their information and interface items perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust enough to work with a variety of assistive tools and technology.
While many of the WCAG principles can be implemented with relatively quick fixes, many businesses do not have the expertise to understand how to comply with the WCAG. It is increasingly essential to find an accessibility partner that can determine a company’s digital accessibility needs, fix any accessibility errors, and create a proactive plan for the future.
Added benefits of web accessibility
Complying with laws and regulations and reducing risk of litigation is just one benefit of web accessibility. Caring for customers through digital accessibility demonstrates an organization’s willingness to go beyond compliance. Digital accessibility can help you reach more customers, care for those customers, and demonstrate your corporate social responsibility – in addition to avoiding potential lawsuits by customers with disabilities.
What can businesses impacted by CCPA do now?
Review and thoroughly understand company needs and abilities to become digitally accessible for CCPA required privacy notices and information that are provided online. This may entail a test or audit of the digital assets through which the CCPA required privacy notices and information may be accessed. If the company web development team does not have the requisite expertise, seek out a good accessibility partner to conduct the review and assessment. Consider adding an accessibility statement to your website that provides alternative ways for customers with disabilities to reach someone if they have a question or issue with accessing CCPA required privacy notices and information provided online.
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User1st provides the most advanced web accessibility solutions on the market for testing, remediation, monitoring, and compliance. User1st is the only company that offers both customized short-term fixes and tailored long-term solutions for meeting the international specifications of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. Trusted by organizations of all sizes, including Fortune 500 companies and large government organizations, User1st’s solutions are deployed in a variety of industries worldwide, including financial services, retail, government, and healthcare. For more information, visit http://www.user1st.com/ and follow on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter @User1st.