California’s Unfair Competition Law (UCL)

Smart companies have been worried about data security for years—no one wants to be in the headlines as the next big company to have a breach, the next corporation to face a class action lawsuit or the next business facing federal or state regulatory scrutiny.  It’s only heightened in recent years as companies faced new regulations imposed by the GDPR and the CCPA.  Well, things are not getting any better in 2020—now an increasing number of municipalities are getting in on the act.

San Francisco was the first city to have this awakening in 2017. In response to the Equifax data breach on September 7, 2017, San Francisco filed claims against Equifax under California’s Unfair Competition Law (UCL).  A few months later, Los Angeles brought a similar lawsuit against Uber claiming that the company paid hackers to delete stolen data and failed to notify consumers of the breach in violation of the UCL.  But most state statutes do not give cities standing to bring lawsuits.


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