Company & Industry News


Location Data Fireside Chat with CPO Andy Schrader: CCPA

January 17, 2020 by Reveal Mobile

As a consumer, you may be familiar with CCPA, otherwise known as the California Consumer Privacy Act. It relates to your privacy in the digital world. According to the media, our digital privacy is under attack by all sorts of nefarious villains that are looking to harm consumers. The media includes advertising technology in this group. 

The headlines and tone of the reporting have been mostly negative, painting a picture of tracking, surveillance and selling consumer data here, there, and everywhere. What the media doesn’t often report is that consumer data is shared with reputable sources for legitimate purposes. Most consumer data is anonymized, and marketers are more interested in advertising to large groups of people. 

Also, almost no one points out that free apps depend on advertising for revenue, and if an app can help an advertiser determine whether a user is likely to be a customer then the app earns more revenue. Location services are a valuable tool for app publishers, helping them determine which users have visited an advertiser’s store. The result for app publishers is more efficient advertising and higher revenue for the app. 

Apple and Google are both aware of the popular opinion surrounding privacy and are building features that capitalize on this to position themselves as privacy-first services. You’re likely seeing pop-ups on your mobile phone alerting you to which apps are collecting your location data.

What is CCPA?

Back to the topic at hand, CCPA. What is it? What will actually change related to your privacy? 

CCPA is all about consumer rights. Its primary focus is not to shake up the adtech industry or disrupt digital media companies, although they will definitely be impacted. The new law aims to make consumers explicitly aware of why their data is being collected, how it will be used (including where it will be sold), and offer them the option to opt-out of the sale of their data. As with other privacy legislation, the law covers much more than simply location data,  it also covers data you submit when you sign up for a service, when you visit websites, where you go to shop and more.

Dealing with this new regulation is definitely going to take effort, but we at Reveal Mobile welcome CCPA, and actually hope for federal legislation! Most companies that deal in data already have specific standards, privacy practices and policies that protect consumers. CCPA is specific to California, but there are other states with similar laws. Fragmented regulation that is different in each state is confusing for consumers, not to mention expensive and challenging for small companies to keep up with. We are in favor of federal legislation that regulates and enforces practices nationwide. It’s tricky to run a company that has to comply with 50 different state privacy laws. One is better.

I can hear what you’re thinking: “If CCPA is complicated to comply with then why on earth would you be in favor of it?”

First, we’re all consumers and have mobile devices. At Reveal Mobile we’ve always strived to be good stewards of that location data we work with, and treat it as though it were our own. As consumers we’re all in favor of more transparency that clearly spells out how our data as consumers is used and and the power to opt-out of that use.  

CCPA and Location Data

The impact of CCPA on the location data industry will result in less, but cleaner and more reliable data.  Right now, there is a degree of uncertainty in advertisers’ and marketers’ minds when it comes to data suppliers. Which suppliers will adhere to the new standards? This is something that data buyers will have to work out over the next several months, when CCPA becomes enforceable on July 1. Buyers may have to cut off certain suppliers, which will put pressure on the suppliers to comply. This will ultimately lead to better privacy-compliant data.  

The effect of universally cleaner data is that the location data industry will see more investment, perhaps more consolidation, and more overall maturity because there will be less market risk.  According to the LBMA, 97% of marketers are already using location data, so it is clearly an invaluable ingredient to marketing strategies. With this high adoption rate and increasing maturity, there is plenty of room for investment when the uncertainty is reduced after the implementation of CCPA. 

Better Location Data Makes Life Better

Remember when you used to get weirded out when you left something in your online shopping cart and hours later you’d receive an email reminding you to finish your purchase? Now we know about cookies and are used to them. We rely on them for a better online experience. They make our lives more convenient. All the hype about CCPA helps to shine a light on location data. With more information on the topic, consumers are becoming better educated and more comfortable with the use of location data. eMarketer recently reported that nearly 70% of mobile device users are willing to share location data if it gives them additional useful and relevant information, and 60% are willing to share location data if it enables a personalized service.

There is no question things will change with CCPA. I’m happy to say I think things will change for the better. More regulation will lead to cleaner data and more activity in the location data industry. We will see consumers getting used to the use of location data, as we did cookies, and a faster-maturing industry. At Reveal Mobile, we are CCPA compliant and excited to see what comes next. 

If you’re interested, you can see how a consumer’s data flows into, through and out of Reveal Mobile from the moment it becomes available from your mobile device.