At the end of June, California enacted what has been billed as a comprehensive privacy law. By all accounts, it was a rush job, negotiated in a week behind closed doors in a desperate and successful attempt to keep Californians for Consumer Privacy Campaign Chairman Alaistair MacTaggart’s privacy initiative off the November ballot. As sometimes happens, the law’s proponents and a few reporters may have overhyped the legislation – both given its current contents and because many expect it to change before its effective date in January 2020.
Yesterday, reports surfaced that Facebook formed data-sharing partnerships with device makers, enabling companies like Amazon and Apple to access Facebook users’ and their friends’ data -- without those friends’ consent. Reports indicate that the shared data includes data pertaining to users who expressly denied Facebook permission to share their information with any third parties.
Today, Public Knowledge sent a letter to the House Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee opposing the Data Acquisition and Technology Accountability and Security Act, which Subcommittee Chairman Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) has indicated he plans to move imminently. In the letter, Public Knowledge urges Congress to pass strong consumer protection legislation and analyzes many concerns with this narrow bill.
Recently, reports surfaced that Cambridge Analytica, a political consulting firm that supported President Trump’s campaign, maintained copies of private data for about 50 million Facebook users without the majority of these users’ knowledge or consent. Public Knowledge finds Facebook’s lack of consumer privacy protection particularly egregious in this case and urges Congress to protect consumers by returning control of personal data to Americans.
Public Knowledge will host a briefing on privacy legislation February 5 from 2 - 3 p.m. at the Dirksen Senate Office Building. The briefing, “Privacy Protections in the Post-Equifax Era,” will outline privacy legislation expected for 2018 and review lessons learned from the 2017 Equifax data breach.