The cosmetics retailer Sephora agreed to pay $1.2 million in penalties to California for allegedly failing to comply with the state’s consumer privacy law.
More on the story here: https://www.wsj.com/articles/sephora-agrees-to-1-2-million-settlement-of-data-privacy-charges-11661372755
Whilst being good news for consumers, this is an alarming trend for businesses. Contrasted to the EU, in the United States, there is still no nationwide and overarching privacy legislation on the federal level, pushing individual states to legislate on the matter and fill the gap. If the trend persists, in a decade, we will have 50 heterogeneous privacy and data protection regimes, making business in the US impossible both for domestic and foreign companies. Although most state privacy laws in the US are comparatively more permissive than GDPR, some states have enacted harsher laws, narrowly focused on specific areas of data protection, for instance, the BIPA in Illinois safeguards the biometric data of residents and is famous for costing $650M to Facebook in settlement for alleged violations. Contrariwise, in other states, there is no privacy legislation whatsoever, leaving consumers without any protection. Such polarized and incongruent enforcement from one state to another undermines the predictability and certainty of the legal landscape. That being said, federal legislation that would finally harmonize the American data protection regime is urgently needed.