Is GDPR Legislation Coming to U.S. Hotels?
Privacy legislation is dominating the news cycle these days–and it’s unlikely to slow down. Now, as U.S. companies are adjusting to the requirements of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, the State of California has introduced new laws that will apply to California companies or companies doing business in California. Senior member of JMBM’s Global Hospitality Group® and Co-Chair of the Firm’s Cybersecurity & Privacy Group Bob Braun discusses the implications of the new legislation and how it will impact hotels.
On June 28, 2018, just more than a month after the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) went into effect, imposing broad obligations and restrictions on any entity collecting personal information of EU citizens and residents, the California legislature has passed AB 375, and the governor has signed, the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018, providing many of the same protections and sure to upend privacy regulation in the United States. The Act was passed by the State Assembly and signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown on June 28, 2018.
Hotel companies have been grappling with the impact of the GDPR on their operations, and analyzing whether they need to adopt policies and procedures, appoint data privacy officers and register with a Data Privacy Agency as required under the GDPR. Since a privacy rule that impacts California effectively becomes a national standard, this new Act means that hotel companies will need to consider many of those issues, regardless of their foreign operations.
The Act goes into effect on January 1, 2020, and while it has broad implications that will become more apparent over time, there are some key initial takeaways.
- Application. The Act applies to all personal information, which is broadly defined, not just information collected electronically or collected directly by a firm. Hotel firms will need to consider all of their data acquisition functions, and conform their practices to the Act, and consider how reservation functions, loyalty programs and other business practices are impacted by the Act.