Skip to Main Content

The Past, Present, and Future of Data Privacy

Every day, we’re being tracked across the internet. And according to the Pew Research Center, 8 in 10 Americans are concerned about what’s being done with their personal data.

But despite this rampant concern, many Americans feel their hands are tied when it comes to taking control over their data. Unfortunately, this isn’t far from the truth.

We know the past of data privacy is dim. But the future of data privacy is bright, thanks to the passing of the CCPA. Businesses know that the end of free-for-all data collection is near.

Please accept personalization cookies to watch this video.

If you’re a California resident, the transition to having rights over your data might be confusing and even overwhelming at times. But don’t take it for granted. The rest of America is waiting for the same rights. And if you’re one who’s waiting for the future of data privacy, there are steps you can take to speed up the process.

But first, do you know your current federal privacy laws?

Present data privacy measures

Have you ever heard of the glass that was half full? Or was it half empty? Data privacy laws are the same. Your opinion will depend on your outlook.

For example, privacy laws like the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) allow the government to access our digital communications, including social media messages and emails with a subpoena. And if the items in question are 180 days old or more, no warrant is required. Anything you’ve put out on the internet six months ago or longer is up for grabs by the government.


However, there are privacy laws that are designed to protect American citizens, especially those who are most vulnerable. The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) was the first U.S. privacy law written for the internet. It requires websites that collect information on children under 13 to comply with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Though it doesn’t have as many restrictions and requirements as the CCPA, it does set the tone for privacy online for children.

Laws like COPPA show the intent is there and that we’ve made progress. But there’s still much work that can be done when it comes to data privacy. Luckily, the CCPA might reach further than the California border and help American citizens in more ways than one.

Know your present rights under the CCPA

The CCPA has some very specific requirements for businesses when determining if they need to be compliant. But there are some vague terms as well.

For example, a company doing business in California with an annual gross revenue in excess of $25 million that also collects, shares, or sells California consumers’ personal data is required to comply.

However, the definition of “doing business” is a bit vague, which leaves some companies extending their CCPA compliances to American residents outside of California.

Put simply, some businesses are making new regulations nationwide. This is why the CCPA is likely to affect all Americans, in the least through a trickle-down effect. While those who live outside the Golden State don’t have the same legal rights, they may find themselves still enjoying the privacy the CCPA is designed to provide.

For example, Mozilla is allowing all users of its Firebox browser to delete collected data on request while Microsoft is applying CCPS regulations to all its users, no matter where they call home.

California is the fifth largest economy in the world and often leads the way in legislation. Since the CCPA was passed, twenty other states are considering similar privacy bills. Another homage to the future of data privacy is the Consumer Online Privacy Rights Act. Introduced in late 2019, it could become the first federal law to provide Americans more control over their personal data.

Resources for fighting privacy laws

As we’ve already mentioned, America is in the middle of a data revolution. Consumers know they deserve the right to privacy online, thanks to laws like the GDPR and CCPA. Unfortunately, lobbyists representing advertising and tech industries are slowing down legislative progress.

If you’re ready to fight for stronger data privacy laws on a federal level, start by visiting where you’ll learn how to contact congress and demand privacy rights.

Together, we can make the future of data privacy brighter for ourselves and future generations.

We’re almost done! Check out our final blog in our series that answers all your questions about the California Consumer Privacy Act.

Avira, a company with over 100 million customers and more than 500 employees, is a worldwide leading supplier of self-developed security solutions for professional and private use. With more than 25 years of experience, the company is a pioneer in its field.
Avira logo

Reclaim your online privacy with this free tool

Avira logo

Reclaim your online privacy with this free tool

Avira logo

Reclaim your online privacy with this free tool

Avira logo

Reclaim your online privacy with this free tool