New privacy laws are taking effect in five states in 2023, and more states are taking up the topic of personal privacy in state legislatures. What does it mean for you? More than you might imagine. If you engage in direct or digital marketing, if you collect personal information from your audience, or if you’re a publisher, these new laws directly affect how you go about business as usual.

It Began with Cookies

In 2018, the EU implemented the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). At the time, only the largest US companies with a significant portion of their business overseas took note of the new rules. But by now, everyone has felt and seen the impact of GDPR when we visit a website and see that ubiquitous banner popup requiring us to take an action regarding the website’s use of cookies on that website. These were just two of this type of notice I encountered as I researched this article.

example of cookie acceptance popup from a website

another example of cookie acceptance popup from a website.

Cookies were the most obvious target in the battle to protect personal privacy online in the EU. Why? Because cookies gather your personal info for either the website owner (for example Google or Facebook) or it’s gathered with the intent to sell that data to a third-party. The big tech giants, like Google and Facebook understand that your personal info has value. These companies, including Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook, generate billions of dollars in revenue by selling your data to third-parties.

Quietly, almost unnoticed, the most popular sites have been using your personal data to generate profits. But there has been a shift in our social awareness about this long-ignored part of the digital social compact. Sure Twitter is free to use, and yes we recognize it’s a business. Selling ads is one way to earn income. Selling your data is more lucrative. But new US privacy laws will change how your information can be gathered, shared and used.

California and Virginia Lead the Way

Two states, California and Virginia, have new privacy laws on the books as of January 2023. Three more states, Connecticut, Colorado and Utah, have laws set to take effect later this year. All five new laws directly impact the way personal sensitive information (data) can be collected and used. And before you turn away because you aren’t marketing in those five states, you need to know that nine other states have introduced similar legislation. We believe this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Privacy legislation on the state level, like other laws regarding individual rights, often looks to what other states have enacted to lay the groundwork for a single state’s legislation. The Virginia law is the one most likely to be copied according to privacy experts. For a simplified look at the components of the five new laws, check out this blog.

Privacy in 2023 and Digital Marketing

What does this mean for you? The bottom line for anyone using direct or digital marketing is that gathering the right data to target the right audience for your purpose is going to get more complicated and more nuanced. That’s a good thing for you as an individual. It’s another thing if you’re a marketing executive. Here’s what it means if you’re a Sabal Group client.

  1. We’re working closely with our compilers to ensure that they have processes in place to comply with each state’s new rules.
  2. We’ll work with you to determine if any of the five new laws or the nine under consideration will impact your business.
  3. Our modeled data will conform with individual state laws. We will tell you if any data has been omitted in your updated models.
  4. You may see different naming conventions for categories of data in order to be consistent across all databases.
  5. You can be confident that our team will be closely monitoring the entire realm of data privacy and how it may impact you.

It’s easy for a legislature to mandate an opt-out provision for consumers. But putting it into action takes time and expertise. The same is true for data. As new data replaces old, compilers will face a significant task in ensuring they are compliant with all state laws. That’s why it’s going to be more important than ever that your data supplier adheres to the highest standards. Cheap lists likely mean careless sourcing.

It means you need to examine how you’re collecting information from website visitors to ensure you’re compliant. Keeping a close eye on any potential legislation in your state is also an obvious recommendation.

Want to Know More?

If you’d like to know more about how Sabal Group works to ensure the data we supply to you meets the highest standards, give Maribeth a call today. If you have concerns about how to navigate this new landscape, schedule a one-on-one meeting with Maribeth for an in-depth discussion about your priorities. There’s nothing she likes more than collaborating with you about how we can best serve your marketing campaign.