Privacy Law FAQs for Businesses

In June 2023, the Oregon Legislature passed Senate Bill 619 », a consumer privacy law (the “Oregon Consumer Privacy Act” or “the law”). The Oregon Consumer Privacy Act, ORS 646A.570-646A.589 », was signed into law by Governor Kotek and takes effect on July 1, 2024.

The Department of Justice has put together Frequently Asked Questions  (FAQs) for consumers and businesses to help prepare for the privacy law.

A link to the Privacy Law FAQs for Consumers can be found on the Consumer Privacy page.

Privacy Law FAQs for Businesses

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When does the law take effect?

The law goes into effect on July 1, 2024. For nonprofit entities covered by the privacy law, the law is not scheduled to go into effect until July 1, 2025.

Who does the privacy law apply to?

The law applies to any individual or entity that conducts business in Oregon or that provides products or services to Oregon residents if, during a calendar year, that individual or entity controls or processes the personal data of:

  • at least 100,000 consumers; or
  • 25,000 or more consumers and derives over 25% of annual gross revenue from the sale of personal data.

The individuals or entities that fit that description are called “controllers.”

Does the law apply to vendors and other service providers?

Yes, the law applies to vendors and service providers that maintain or provide services involving personal data on behalf of a controller. The individuals or entities that fit that description are called “processors.”

What is the difference between a controller and processor?

The key distinction between a controller and a processor is their decision-making authority over personal data. Under the law, a processor may only process data at the request and under the direction of a controller. The processor is contractually bound by the controller’s instructions as to what the processor must and may do with personal data.

What is a “sale” of personal data?

Generally, a “sale” is the exchange of personal data for monetary or other valuable consideration between a controller and a third party. This could include a controller exchanging customer lists with a third party. There are some exceptions to the definition of “sale” stated in the law. Those exceptions can be found at ORS 646A.570(17)(b).

How does the law define personal data?

Personal data is any information that can be linked to an individual or to a device (like a cell phone or a smart appliance) that can be linked to an individual or someone else that they live with. Some examples of personal data include: a home address, a driver’s license or state identification number, passport information, a financial account number, login credentials, and browsing history on a smart TV. Some types of sensitive data have even more protections under the law.

What types of data are considered sensitive data under the law?

Sensitive data includes:

  • Any data revealing an individual’s racial or ethnic background, national origin, religious beliefs, mental or physical health conditions or diagnoses, sexual orientation, citizenship or immigration status, status as transgender or nonbinary, or status as a crime victim;
  • Genetic data, or biometric data that could be used to identify an individual;
  • Personal data of a child under the age of 13; and
  • Information about an individual’s specific past or present location.

What does it mean to “process” data?

Processing refers to any action a controller may take with respect to personal data, including collecting, using, storing, selling, sharing, analyzing, or modifying the data.

What entities are excluded from the law?

The privacy law excludes some types of entities from complying with its requirements, even if those entities meet the threshold requirements. These entities include:

  • State, local, and tribal governments;
  • Financial institutions as defined in ORS 706.008; and
  • Certain insurers as well as insurance producers and insurance consultants defined in Oregon laws.

A person or entity that contracts with an exempt entity may still be subject to the law if they process personal data on behalf of any non-exempt controllers and/or if that person or entity meets the law’s definition of controller.

Does the law impose any obligations on employee data?

The law does not apply to data maintained for employment records purposes. Furthermore, the term "consumer" means an individual Oregon resident acting only in an individual or household context and does not include an individual acting as an employee or job applicant.

What rights do Oregon consumers have under the privacy law?

Generally, Oregon consumers have the following rights:

  • The right to access personal data that has been collected about them.
  • The right to know a list of the specific third parties that have received their personal data or any personal data from a controller.
  • The right to correct inaccuracies in their personal data.
  • The right to have their personal data deleted.
  • The right to obtain a copy of their personal data.
  • The right to say “no” to (opt-out of) a controller doing certain things with their personal data.

What obligations do controllers have under the law?

Among other obligations, controllers must:

  • Provide notice regarding the types of personal data the controller processes, the specific purpose(s) for processing data, whether and why the controller shares personal data with third parties, and information about how consumers can exercise their various rights (e.g. access, deletion) over their personal data.
  • Limit collection of personal data to what is adequate, relevant, and reasonably necessary for the specific purpose(s) for which the data is collected and processed (also known as “data minimization”).
  • Respond to requests to exercise consumer rights granted under the law.
  • Conduct assessments before processing personal data in a manner that presents a heightened risk of harm to consumers (called “Data Protection Assessments”). This includes processing personal data for the purposes of targeted advertising, sale, or profiling, and any processing of sensitive data.
  • Use reasonable safeguards to secure personal data.

Is consent required to process personal data under the law?

Yes, for certain types of data and under certain circumstances. Consent is required to collect, store, or otherwise process all categories of sensitive data, as defined in the law (those are covered in an earlier question). If the controller knows (or willfully disregards knowing) that a consumer is at least 13 years old and less than 16 years old, the controller also must get consent to process the consumer’s personal data for the purposes of sale, targeted advertising, or profiling.

In addition, a controller must obtain a consumer’s consent to process personal data for any “secondary purpose” – a purpose that is not reasonably necessary for and compatible with the purposes the controller specifies in its privacy notice. For instance, if a restaurant’s website states that it collects personal data only for the purpose of completing online orders, the restaurant cannot sell that personal data to data brokers or other advertisers without obtaining the consumer’s consent.

Are certain types of personal data excluded from the law?

Yes, publicly available data and deidentified data are not “personal data” under the law.

In addition, the law does not apply to certain types of personal data maintained in compliance with specific federal privacy laws, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, and the Fair Credit Reporting Act. A complete list of exclusions can be found at ORS 646A.572(2).

How long does a controller have to respond to a consumer's privacy rights request?

A controller must respond to a consumer’s request no later than 45 days after receipt of the request. Under certain conditions, the controller may extend the response period by 45 days but must tell the consumer that the response will be delayed and explain the reason for that delay.

Does a controller have to accept consumer requests made through a universal opt-out mechanism?

Controllers will be required to accept opt-out requests through universal opt-out mechanisms starting on January 1, 2026. Prior to January 1, 2026, controllers may, but are not required to, allow consumers to opt-out of personal data processing through a universal opt-out mechanism.

Does a controller have to accept a privacy rights request made by a consumer’s agent?

A consumer can use an agent to exercise “opt-out” rights. A controller must comply with the opt-out request if the controller can verify, with commercially reasonable effort, the identity of the consumer and the authorized agent’s authority to act on their behalf. The agent must make the opt-out request through the method(s) specified in the controller’s privacy notice.

If the consumer is a minor or under a protective arrangement, the consumer’s parent, guardian, or conservator may exercise all privacy rights on the consumer’s behalf.

Can a controller charge the consumer a fee to respond to a privacy rights request?

Controllers must provide information to consumers free of charge for the first request within a twelve-month period. Controllers may charge a reasonable fee to cover administrative costs to comply with a or subsequent requests within a twelve-month period, unless the request is to confirm that the controller corrected inaccuracies in, or deleted, the consumer’s personal data based on a prior request.

Can individuals sue entities for violating the privacy law?

No, the privacy law does not include a private right of action.

Are controllers provided notice of a violation before enforcement action is taken?

Between July 1, 2024 and January 1, 2026, if the Attorney General determines that a violation can be remedied, the Attorney General must first send a letter giving the violator 30 days to cure the violation. If the Attorney General determines that no fix is possible for the violation, no such letter is required.

After January 1, 2026, the Attorney General is not required to send a cure notice under any circumstances and can proceed directly to an enforcement action.

What is the Oregon Attorney General's role in enforcing this law?

The Attorney General has sole enforcement power under the privacy law.

What are the penalties for failing to comply with the law?

Entities or individuals that violate the law may face civil penalties up to $7,500 per violation. In addition to civil penalties, the Attorney General can also seek other relief, including injunctive relief, restitution, and/or disgorgement.