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.
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.
Last night, The New York Times reported on its investigation of widespread data sharing practices between Facebook and over 150 major tech companies. Despite a consent decree with the Federal Trade Commission prohibiting Facebook from sharing customer information without consent, and despite auditing mechanisms in the consent decree designed to spot practices that shared customer information in violation of the decree, the practices continued for years. The New York Times article suggests that some of the information sharing may still be going on to this day.
Today, New York Attorney General Barbara D. Underwood has announced a settlement with Charter, ending a lawsuit New York had filed concerning Charter's practice of deceiving customers as to their broadband speeds. Charter has agreed to refund misled customers, and to reform its behavior in the future. Public Knowledge had filed an amicus brief in this case.
Today, Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) led a group of 15 senators in introducing the “Data Care Act of 2018,” which would require online service providers like Facebook and Google to responsibly protect individually identifying information about consumers. Public Knowledge welcomes the bill as a good starting point for a discussion about what responsibilities custodians of our personal information should have.