Compliance Technology

Business leaders still struggling to wrap their heads around the forthcoming California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) just got tossed another tech-based lifeline, as law firm Orrick launched its CCPA Readiness Assessment Tool last week.

The tool prompts users to answer a series of questions meant to determine whether or not the law will even applies to them and the steps they’ll need to take towards compliance if it does.

“We’re hopeful that this tool helps to break it down and makes it easier to understand concepts and actually turn the law into an actionable compliance plan,” said Heather Egan Sussman, a partner at Orrick.

Turning a complicated thing simple is, well, complicated. For starters, the CCPA requires companies to be even more specific about the types of information they are collecting from consumers than the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Sussman, fellow Orrick partner Emily Tabatabai and their team had to pour over the “messy and dense” statute in order to generate the appropriate queries for the tool’s questionnaire. Suffice to say, they sympathize with clients struggling to map out a suitable compliance strategy.

“The statute is not the best-written piece of legislation in the world,” Tabatabai said.

Users don’t actually have to be Orrick clients in order to use the tool (not that they’re turning people away at the door). But the firm is also deploying it as something of a first step, a way to help lawyers gauge exactly how far along the road towards compliance a business might be before dispensing of legal advice can begin.

On that subject: There’s not actually a prescribed ratio of tech-to-human based advice a company can follow with regards to the CCPA. But according to Tabatabai, a multitude of tough and complex questions follows the initial slew offer by the compliance tool. These can include, how will complying with the CCPA impact a business’ daily operational processes, and could it alter marketing or monetization strategies?

“There’s still so much nuance in how the laws need to applied to a particular business that there’s really just no technological substitute for high-level legal analysis and advice,” Tabatabai said.

Orrick isn’t the only law firm to leverage tech against CCPA compliance.  Parsons Behle Lab, a subsidiary of Parsons Behle & Latimer, released another question-based tool called CCPA IQ that pays close attention to the types of information that businesses are collecting from consumers in order to guide them towards a compliance strategy. Meanwhile, compliance companies like TrustArc have also begun adding new features to their platforms specifically geared towards CCPA compliance.