Just this week Virginia joined California as being one of the few states where consumers have a “right to delete” under applicable state privacy laws.  This loosely follows the approach in the EU General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) that also contains a right to delete which is quite broad (“right to obtain . . . erasure of personal data concerning him or her”), though subject to a number of exceptions.  State approaches to consumers’ “right to delete” are not uniform, however, which makes understanding the nuance in the California Consumer Privacy Act (the “CCPA”), the California Privacy Rights Act, which amends and will essentially replace the CCPA on January 1, 2023 (the “CPRA”), and the Virginia Consumer Data Protection Act (the “VCDPA”) all the more important.

CPW’s Glenn Brown has prepared a detailed analysis that is a must-read in light of the VCDPA’s passage that compares the “right to delete” under the CCPA, CPRA and VCDPA.  As he explains, the CCPA, CPRA and VCDPA each provide that a consumer has the right to request that a business delete their personal information, but they differ in certain respects, including their scope. The CCPA provides that consumers “… have the right to request that a business delete any personal information about the consumer which the business has collected from the consumer.”  (emphasis added).  Notably, the CPRA does not amend the wording of this right.  By comparison, the VCDPA provides that consumers “… have the right to delete personal data provided by or obtained about the consumer.”  (emphasis added).  The VCDPA’s deletion right is therefore broader than that provided by the CCPA and CPRA, in that it applies to personal information that a business has collected from a consumer or that the business has collected about a consumer from another source.

Glenn provides a fantastic breakdown discussing the relevant exceptions to the “right to delete” under each of these laws, including a chart describing the various uses of personal information that will allow a business to retain the relevant personal information subject to these laws, even when a consumer has requested the business to delete it.

*The CCPA and CPRA provide that the exception is available only if: (a) deletion of the information is likely to render impossible or seriously impair the ability to complete such research; and (b) the consumer has provided informed consent.

**The VCDPA requires that the research be approved, monitored, and governed by an institutional review board, or similar independent oversight entities, that determine whether: (i) the deletion of the information is likely to provide substantial benefits that do not exclusively accrue to the controller; (ii) the expected benefits of the research outweigh the privacy risks; and (iii) the controller has implemented reasonable safeguards to mitigate privacy risks associated with research, including any risks associated with reidentification.

The CPRA also requires that such uses be compatible with the context in which the consumer provided the information in order to qualify for the exception.

Be sure to check out Glenn‘s complete analysis here.