Items tagged "Consumer Privacy"

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Members of Congress Tackle Consumer Protection Failures from Equifax Breach

October 13, 2017 Consumer Privacy , Cybersecurity , Equifax , Privacy , security

Last week, Congress held four hearings to investigate the Equifax data breach, which jeopardized the highly sensitive data of 145 millions Americans. The exposed consumer information includes social security numbers, prior addresses, student loans, credit card numbers, and other pieces of private data compiled into credit reports that determine if a consumer qualifies for employment, loans, or new lines of credit. For days, members of Congress questioned former Equifax CEO Richard Smith as to how the breach could have occurred and what steps the company was taking to protect consumers. Mr. Smith resigned in September after the extent of the breach was fully disclosed. During the hearings, he offered little in terms of solutions on how to protect consumers going forward, but his answers revealed significant problems with our current data security regime that Congress must address.

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Waive Goodbye to Your Rights: Equifax and Corporate America’s Love Affair with Forced Arbitration

October 7, 2017 Consumer Privacy , Cybersecurity , Equifax , Privacy , security

This past week, Congress demanded answers from former Equifax CEO Richard Smith about what, exactly, went so terribly wrong in his company’s handling of its massive data breach this summer, and to ask how to keep something like this from happening again. Over the course of four hearings in both the Senate and the House, it became clear that the list of “wrongs” is lengthy. But one of the most damning revelations emerged in the aftermath of the breach in the company’s attempts to mitigate harm post-breach. To be clear, we’re not talking about mitigating consumer harm – we’re talking about Equifax protecting itself from accountability through the use of forced arbitration.

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The Right Response to Equifax

September 12, 2017 Consumer Privacy , Cybersecurity , Equifax , Privacy , security

Lots and lots and lots of people are talking about the Equifax breach. Many share similar views: this can’t happen again, Equifax should face some economic consequence, consumers need to be better educated, we need legislation, we need regulation. All of which may be valid and reasonable, but few of which will actually happen. Foremost among them, we will have another breach.

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Setting the Record Straight: What the Congressional Review Act Means for the FCC’s Broadband Privacy

March 16, 2017 Broadband Privacy , Consumer Privacy , FCC , FTC , Privacy

One significant threat to the public interest under the new administration that is receiving increased attention is broadband privacy for consumers. Last week, Senator Jeff Flake and 21 cosponsors introduced a resolution under the Congressional Review Act to repeal the Federal Communications Commission’s broadband privacy rules. In late October, after over six months of deliberation, the FCC passed rules governing how Internet Service Providers use the personal information that they collect on their customers. Put simply, ISPs would be required to obtain opt-in consent before using anything sensitive like web browsing history, your location, financial information, and information relating to children.

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FCC Privacy Rules Must Protect Where We Go and What We Do Online

October 11, 2016 Consumer Privacy , FCC , FTC , Privacy

Last week, the Federal Communications Commission released a fact sheet summarizing proposed final rules that would significantly upgrade consumer broadband privacy protections. The final proposal varies from the framework set forth in the original proposal in one important respect. The FCC initially proposed requiring Internet Service Providers to obtain opt-out consent for first party use of customer information and opt-in consent for third party use of customer information. Instead, responding to industry lobbying, the FCC will adopt the framework originally developed by the Federal Trade Commission that requires opt-in consent for “sensitive” information, but requires subscribers to affirmatively opt out from the ISP using information designated “non-sensitive.”

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Cable Company Practices Indicate a Need for Increased Enforcement of Consumer Privacy Laws

June 8, 2016 Consumer Privacy , FCC , FTC , Privacy , Video Marketplace

In March of this year, the Center for Digital Democracy released a comprehensive report outlining the increasing use of subscriber data by Internet Service Providers and video providers. The report details the common practices of cable operators gathering their customers’ personal information, sharing and combining that information with third parties, and using it to target customers for advertising on an individual level.

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AT&T Does Not Want to Ask for Permission to Share Your Data

June 7, 2016 Consumer Privacy , FCC , Privacy

AT&T, predictably hysterical over the Federal Communication Commission’s privacy proposal, claimed in its comments to the FCC that an opt-in system would destroy its ability to “subsidize affordable consumer services by using customer data to engage in profitable first- and third-party marketing.”

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Grasping at Straws: Against ISP Objections, Consumers’ Privacy Rights Will Prevail

June 1, 2016 Consumer Privacy , FCC , Privacy

Last week, we filed our official comments with the Federal Communications Commission for its privacy proceeding. The closer we got to the deadline to submit comments on the proceeding, the thinner the arguments against it become, and we included several indisputable facts in our comments for the Commissioners to keep in mind.

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Broadband Privacy Can Prevent Discrimination: The Case of Cable One and FICO Scores

June 1, 2016 Consumer Privacy , FCC , Privacy

The Federal Communications Commission has an ongoing proceeding to apply Section 222 (47 U.S.C. 222) to broadband. For those unfamiliar with the statute, Section 222 prohibits a provider of a “telecommunications service” from either disclosing information collected from a customer without a customer’s consent, or from using the information for something other than providing the telecom service. While most of us think this generally means advertising, it means a heck of a lot more than that — as illustrated by this tidbit from Cable One.

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