Digital Privacy Rights: Legal Remedies for Online Privacy Violations

In our hyper-connected digital world, personal privacy often feels like a quaint relic of the past. Our data is constantly collected, shared, and commodified by companies and online platforms in ways most of us don’t fully understand. Far too often, these entities abuse or fail to properly protect our private information, opening the door to fraud, identity theft, harassment, and other serious consequences.

But we’re not powerless against these privacy violations. A growing body of laws aims to uphold our digital rights and provide legal remedies when those rights are infringed upon. Here’s a look at some key digital privacy laws and the recourse available when they’re violated.

The Data Privacy Compliance Landscape

On the federal level, the following are some of the major laws governing data privacy and consumer protection online:

The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA): Enacted in 1998, this law requires websites, apps, and online services to obtain verifiable parental consent before collecting any personal data from children under 13.

The Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing (CAN-SPAM) Act: This 2003 law cracks down on deceptive marketing practices like spamming, with provisions covering both email and online communications.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA): This long-standing law, with new rules added in the 1990s, regulates how credit reporting agencies can collect, share, and use consumers’ sensitive credit and background information.

More recently, consumer data privacy protections have expanded at the state level, with California leading the charge. The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), enacted in 2018, gives consumers extensive rights regarding the personal information that companies collect about them, including:

  • The right to know what personal data is collected and how it’s being used
  • The right to delete that personal data
  • The right to opt out of having that data sold
  • The right to non-discrimination for exercising those rights

Other states are following suit with their own comprehensive consumer data privacy laws. For example, Virginia’s Consumer Data Protection Act went into effect in 2023, while Colorado’s data privacy law is set to take effect later this year.

Taking Legal Action: Remedies for Privacy Violations

So what can you do if a company, website, app, or online entity violates your digital privacy rights under these laws? Depending on the specifics of the violation, you may have grounds to pursue legal action and seek remedies such as:

Compensatory Damages: If you suffered financial losses or other quantifiable harm due to the privacy violation, you could seek compensation for those damages.

Statutory Damages: Many data privacy laws stipulate statutory damage amounts that you can pursue in lieu of or in addition to compensatory damages. For example, the CCPA allows for statutory damages between $100 and $750 per incident.

Civil Penalties: Companies that knowingly violate data privacy laws may face civil penalties and fines imposed by state authorities or regulatory agencies.

Injunctive Relief: A court order or injunction could compel the violating party to stop improperly collecting, sharing, or misusing your personal data.

To pursue any of these legal remedies, you’ll likely need the assistance of an attorney well-versed in data privacy and consumer protection laws.

Finding the Right Legal Representation

When it comes to complex privacy issues, whether workplace-related or in the general consumer realm, the right legal guidance is paramount. You’ll want to find an attorney or firm that specializes in this constantly evolving area of law.

For workplace privacy violations, such as an employer improperly accessing your employment records or engaging in excessive digital monitoring, consult “Workers Compensation Lawyers Near Me” who have experience with employment privacy matters. An experienced “Workers Compensation Attorney” can advise you on state and federal laws governing workplace data collection and use.

For online privacy violations by companies, websites, and digital platforms, search for “Top Workers Comp Attorneys” in your area with specific expertise in consumer data privacy laws and litigation. Look for firms that list privacy law as a core practice area. “Best Workers Comp Lawyers Near Me” with a proven track record in these types of cases will give you the best chance at a positive outcome.

Vetting prospective legal counsel is crucial. Check out their case results and read client reviews. Many offer free initial consultations where you can get a feel for their expertise and whether they’re the right fit. In the rapidly evolving realm of data privacy law, you want a firm that is truly staying ahead of the curve.

While there’s still work to be done in enshrining digital privacy rights, your personal data and online privacy are protected to some degree by a growing body of laws. When those rights are violated, holding perpetrators legally accountable could not only bring justice in your specific case but also incentivize better data stewardship across industries.

The road to vindicating your digital privacy may not be easy, but by teaming up with a skilled privacy attorney, elevating awareness of consumer rights, and pushing for stronger enforcement, we can work to reclaim some control over how our personal data is collected and used online.

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