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Thanks, California! Here’s a list of companies you can now tell to stop selling your data

Netflix, Home Depot, and dozens of other companies offer a roadmap, but you’ll need to clear some time on your calendar.

Thanks, California! Here’s a list of companies you can now tell to stop selling your data
[Photo: Banter Snaps/Unsplash]

As is often the case, a helpful tech-savvy person on the internet just made our lives easier—this time by gathering links to six dozen corporate pages where you can ask companies to stop selling your data, or delete it.

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This new level of empowerment comes thanks to California’s Consumer Privacy Act, which went into effect yesterday, allowing California consumers to find out what information is collected on them, cease its sale, and/or erase it. Practically speaking, the floodgates are likely opening for all Americans, since companies will not have the resources to assess whether individual consumers are California residents.

Even so, controlling your data continues to be time-consuming hot mess. Want Home Depot to stop selling your information? First you’ll fill out three separate requests to see what information they collect, delete that information, and opt out of its sale.

But . . . Home Depot “may not be able to associate the information you provided in your request with the information collected from your usage of our websites, mobile applications, connected device applications, or digital services.” Right. For that, there’s a different link, with new forms, which you’ll need to fill out “for each browser on each device for which you wish to opt out of interest-based advertising.” Holy hell.

There’s more. Home Depot also tells you how to disable cookies in your browser and limit advertising tracking on your Android or iOS settings. (On iOS, it’s Settings > Privacy > Advertising  > Turn on Limit Ad Tracking; on Android it’s Google Settings > Ads > Opt Out of Interest-Based Ads.)

In other words, you will easily spend an hour on 6-12 forms to unravel the data that Home Depot is helpfully disclosing that it collects about you.

Southwest Airlines, meanwhile, provides a short form, to which you’ll receive a response in 5-7 days with “verification procedures and other next steps.”

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Netflix lists your CCPA rights, and tells you that, “You can assert these rights only where we receive a verified request from you. To make requests, or if you have a question regarding our privacy practices, please contact our Data Protection Officer/Privacy Office at privacy@netflix.com.”

This is a time suck of massive proportions.

Pro advice: wait a year. California is expected to begin enforcement in earnest this summer, giving companies time to work out the kinks, which are substantial. In the meantime, controlling your data is the Wild West.

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