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A Bilingual Longitudinal Analysis of Privacy Policies Measuring the Impacts of the GDPR and the CCPA/CPRA

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conference contribution
posted on 2024-05-08, 11:23 authored by Henry Hosseini, Christine Utz, Martin Degeling, Thomas Hupperich
Privacy policies are the main mechanism for websites to describe their practices in collecting and processing visitors' personal data. Their format and content are subject to legal requirements that have changed due to recent new privacy regulations including the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), and California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA). Studying how privacy policies are adapted to such regulatory change can help identify shortcomings in implementing the law and inform future legislatory initiatives. Existing work in this area mostly studied effects of the GDPR on privacy policies or the "Do Not Sell My Personal Information" link mandated by the CCPA. Methodologically, insights were mainly drawn from English-language privacy policies using keyword-based analyses or machine learning classifiers. In this work, we address this research gap and conduct a bilingual study of privacy policies in English and German that investigates the effects of the GDPR and CCPA/CPRA on privacy policy content, using established methods from corpus linguistics that are language-independent and do not rely on keyword lists or classifiers that may date quickly. We find that, unlike for the GDPR, the CCPA's requirements were not yet widely implemented when it first became enforceable but only with its amendment, the CPRA. Before that, websites used more than 60 variants of the "Do Not Sell" link instead of the mandated wording and did not prominently reference individual rights granted by the CCPA/CPRA. While companies outside California and the US did adapt their disclosures to the CCPA/CPRA, this was limited to English-language policies and did not spill over to policies in German. For GDPR enforcement, we find websites to increasingly rely on legitimate interests to justify data collection, raising concerns whether individuals' interests in the privacy of their personal information are still sufficiently considered.


Primary Research Area

  • Empirical and Behavioral Security

Name of Conference

Privacy Enhancing Technologies Symposium (PETS)


Proceedings on Privacy Enhancing Technologies



Page Range



Privacy Enhancing Technologies Symposium Advisory Board

Open Access Type

  • Hybrid


@inproceedings{Hosseini:Utz:Degeling:Hupperich:2024, title = "A Bilingual Longitudinal Analysis of Privacy Policies Measuring the Impacts of the GDPR and the CCPA/CPRA", author = "Hosseini, Henry" AND "Utz, Christine" AND "Degeling, Martin" AND "Hupperich, Thomas", year = 2024, month = 4, journal = "Proceedings on Privacy Enhancing Technologies", number = "2", pages = "434--463", publisher = "Privacy Enhancing Technologies Symposium Advisory Board", issn = "2299-0984", doi = "10.56553/popets-2024-0058" }