Consumer Privacy


Civil Rights Coalition Urges Congress to Protect Marginalized Communities in Privacy Debate

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Today, Public Knowledge joined 43 other public interest, civil rights, racial justice, and consumer groups in a letter urging Congress to prioritize civil rights concerns when developing consumer privacy legislation. In the letter, Public Knowledge and other organizations argue that anti-discrimination principles need to be extended to the online economy in order to protect marginalized communities, especially communities of color.

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Telecom Giants Broke the Law By Selling Detailed Location Data. Will They Face Consequences?

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More details have emerged from the Motherboard investigation into carriers selling their customers’ real-time location data, including assisted GPS (“A-GPS”) data intended only for emergency services. The reports are shocking and illustrate both a brazen disregard for consumer privacy on the part of the companies involved and the disturbing, unregulated behavior of the data brokerage industry. The Federal Communications Commission, led by Chairman Ajit Pai, needs to act immediately to enforce what appears to be a clear violation of the FCC’s rules against the selling of A-GPS data with third parties. In addition, Congress must pass comprehensive privacy legislation that forces the data broker industry out of the shadows and stops the persistent misuse of data at the expense of consumer privacy.

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Public Knowledge Opposes Antiquated Privacy Bill Barring States from Protecting Consumers

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Yesterday, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) introduced the “American Data Dissemination (ADD) Act,” which would require the Federal Trade Commission to recommend privacy regulations in line with the 1974 Privacy Act to Congress and also prevent states from passing their own privacy laws. Additionally, the bill would preempt those state protections already in place, effectively walking back the few privacy safeguards consumers have.

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Public Knowledge Demands FTC, FCC Get Off Privacy Sidelines and Enforce Existing Law

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Yesterday, reports surfaced that Voipo, a California voice-over-internet-protocol (VOIP) provider, exposed millions of consumer call logs and text messages stored on an “improperly secured” ElasticSearch database for several months before security researcher Justin Paine located them.

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Remember the FCC’s Broadband Privacy Rules? The Motherboard Exposé Takes Us Down Memory Lane

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On Tuesday, Motherboard published an article exposing the jaw-dropping ease of data collection and commercialization practices that can allow a stranger to find a cell phone’s location with just a phone number and $300. Motherboard’s investigation found that telecommunications companies, including T-Mobile, AT&T, and Sprint, would sell location data with an aggregator, which sold the data to MicroBilt, which then sold it to a Motherboard investigator for “dirt cheap.”

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