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  • Post last modified:January 21, 2021

The recent CCPA laws enforceable under Californian users are a buzz word for all dot com business owners alike. But gaining insight on how it is different from the forever present GDPR laws is still somewhat mystified. 

Below are a few critical questions that can help you demystify the concepts. 

By the end of this post, you would be able to find the merits and utilities of both the laws and distinguish how they are different from each other.  

Let’s dive right in.

GDPR vs. CCPA: Overview

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You can quickly determine that the GDPR data protection framework’s scope spectrum is much bigger and broader from the above questions. This law enforces privacy by default, based on prior consent of EU users. Thus empowers individuals in the EU constitution with the rights to access, erasure information, and withdraw consent at will. 

The CCPA, in comparison, the GDPR, is a smaller, hyper-specific sectoral law that protects the data and information rights of the California residents. It gains traction over the decision-making rights over the data that sure businesses. 

This is achieved through access requests. One can have it deleted or opting out entirely from having a business sell collected data to third parties vendors. 

Thus the two laws, GDPR and CCPA, are entirely different on a fundamental level.  Operating on two very different legal frameworks of data privacy and autonomy in Europe and California, respectively.

Now let’s drill a little deeper and try to analyze both laws systematically.

GDPR vs. CCPA: The Big Questions Answered

  1. What is precisely the GDPR compliance?

GDPR or the General Data Protection Regulation is an EU law that controls inter European Union personal data processing on individuals. 

The rule that came into effect in May 2018, the GDPR requires websites processing personal data on individuals inside the EU first to obtain the individual’s consent to do so.

  1. What is CCPA compliance all about?
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CCPA or the California Consumer Privacy Act is a state-wide law that controls the collection, use, sharing, and selling of Californians’ personal data. 

Coming into effect in January 2020, the CCPA requires businesses to inform consumers about their personal information collection and sharing, as well as enabling consumers the opportunity to opt-out of third-party data sales, access, and have already collected data deleted. 

  1. What key differences do the CCPA and GDPR have?

The most vital difference between the GDPR and the CCPA is how they approach protecting consumer data. While the GDPR focuses on fetching prior consent, CCPA is focused on enabling opt-outs. 

While the GDPR requires users to give their explicit and affirmative consent before having their personal data collected and processed, the CCPA needs businesses to make it possible for consumers to opt-out of having their data disclosed or sold to third parties. 

Under the GDPR act, you must have a legal basis (for instance, consent) for collecting personal data. Under the CCPA, you must enable users to opt-out of your personal information collection practices. 

The GDPR protects any individual located inside the EU, whereas the CCPA protects only residents of California.

  1. Who needs to comply with the laws of CCPA and GDPR?

Any website, company, or organization that processes personal data on individuals inside the EU must comply with the GDPR laws.  

Even if they are not located inside the EU, they have this law enforced by them. 

CCPA is discernible right away. Only companies or profit organizations that meet the law’s definition of business must comply with the CCPA act. To broaden the perspective, let’s take a closer look at a detailed comparison of both the laws, GDPR and CCPA.

GDPR vs. CCPA: The Comparison                                         

To get the best insights from the comparison, we will take the subject matters and areas of both the laws.

Personal information (CCPA) vs. personal data (GDPR)

The key difference between the Californian CCPA and GDPR lies in their treatment of data as per categories. 

On the one hand, CCPA’s definition is more intrinsic and personal. It includes data that is not specific to an individual but is under the household data category. On the other hand, the GDPR remains hyper-specific to individuals. 

Unlike the CCPA, the GDPR creates a select category of data called ‘sensitive personal data,’ prohibiting its processing unless one of the specific requirements are met. 

Do Not Sell My Personal Information: CCPA vs. legal grounds for data processing: GDPR

The GDPR has six legal grounds for processing personal data in the EU, while the CCPA has established none.

This means that businesses can process data on Californians as they like unless consumers exercise their right to opt-out of having their data sold. 

But for companies catering to an EU audience, the flexibility tampers somewhat.

Consumers (CCPA) vs. data subjects (GDPR)

The GDPR protects data subjects described as an identified or identifiable natural person. In contrast, the CCPA gives consumers certain rights, described as a natural person who is a California resident.

This means if an American tourist is traveling to the EU, processing their data in the run, they will be protected by the GDPR. 

Even if based outside the territory, the companies who process their data must comply until they offer data subjects inside the EU.

In other words, data subjects are any natural individuals who have data processed inside the EU territories by companies offering services and products to the Union at any point in time. 

Scopes of the CCPA vs. GDPR 

Both the scopes of CCPA and the GDPR are extraterritorial. 

The CCPA applies to companies that fit under the definition of a business irrespective of its physical location. 

Similarly, the GDPR is enforceable on all websites, companies, and organizations (data controllers) across the globe if they offer goods or services to individuals within the EU territory.

Businesses (CCPA) vs. data controllers (GDPR)

The CCPA control legislation has a narrow definition of classification. The GDPR requirements, on the other hand, apply to data controllers, defined as any kind of entity with data processing activities. 

So with so many undertones in the laws, it is easy to get bogged down. 

Here’s how you can overcome it: 

How to comply with the GDPR and CCPA?

Consent management systems are the perfect solution for your business to keep up with the changing needs of supporting data protection to your consumers. 

A typical consent management solution can provide immense value to your system. By scanning your site, it will find all cookies and trackers and automatically pause them until your end users consent to all or specific categories of cookies they are willing to allow to be placed on their devices.

Cookiebot is an exceptionally good software when it comes to compliance management. 

It enables multiple compliance solutions on the same website using a geotargeting function that personalizes the compliance consent. 

This means visitors from the EU will be presented with a GDPR compliant banner, while California visitors will meet the CCPA compliant cookie declaration. 

This way, your website can protect its end-users in ways compliant with their own country or state’s data privacy laws. 


In today’s digital era, the one most valuable thing is data. No wonder there are so many data privacy rules and regulations bound under the law. Thus, keeping up with the rules at all points is extremely necessary for any business, especially if you have a web presence.  

GDPR has played a vital role in securing data privacy for web consumers for a long time. But now, with even more efficient and dynamic frameworks like the CCPA, the protection systems are moving tricky. Having expert help in your hands can ensure you are always squared in terms of laws. 


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