Facebook announced yesterday that it expects to pay a fine up to $5 billion dollars over accusations that the company violated its 2011 consent decree with the Federal Trade Commission over consumer privacy on the social media platform. The company also said there can be no assurances as to the terms of resolution of the investigation.
According to reports, the Federal Trade Commission plans to open a study into the technology industry’s data practices. Called a “6(b)” study, this type of study enables the agency to broadly review an industry practice and allows the agency to compel information from witnesses. Public Knowledge previously urged the FTC to conduct such a study and commends the move to shine a light on the competitive impacts of these data practices.
Today, the Federal Communications Commission voted to approve a Fourth Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that seeks to adopt a vertical, or “Z-axis,” metric to enhance location accuracy for wireless E911 calls. The vote follows a recent Motherboard investigation into carriers selling or giving away this information to third parties. Public Knowledge recently filed an ex parte arguing for amending the FNPRM to address this oversight and applauds Commissioner Geoffrey Starks for taking consumer privacy concerns seriously.
Yesterday, Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) introduced the “Digital Accountability and Transparency to Advance Privacy Act” (DATA Privacy) to encourage businesses like Facebook and Amazon to explain privacy policies in clear language while meeting requirements for data collection, processing, and storage.
Today, Representative Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) introduced the “Truth-In-Billing, Remedies, and User Empowerment over Fees” (TRUE Fees) Act to ensure that pay TV, cellular service, and broadband providers include “below-the-line” fee items in their advertised price for service.