Items tagged "Data Protection"

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Consumer Privacy Before Congress This Week: What We Learned and What’s Next

February 28, 2019 Consumer Privacy , Data Protection , FTC , Legislation , Privacy

This week featured back-to-back privacy hearings on Capitol Hill to discuss principles for federal privacy legislation. With the one-year anniversary of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation implementation coming in May and the California Consumer Privacy Act taking effect in 2020, industry players that have fiercely lobbied against federal privacy legislation in years past are now suddenly calling on Congress to pass a comprehensive privacy bill this year. Here’s a quick look at what happened in each hearing and a few key takeaways.

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

February 8, 2019 Consumer Privacy , Data Protection , E911 , FCC , Privacy

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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Our Thoughts on Facebook’s WhatsApp + Messenger + Instagram Integration

January 30, 2019 Competition , Data Protection , Platform Regulation , Privacy , security

Last week, the New York Times reported that Facebook has decided to integrate the back-end infrastructures of its three fully-owned messaging products: Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram. At Public Knowledge, aware of the different nature, features, and conditions of use of these three services, we are carefully following the possible privacy and security and competition implications of this market-changing move.

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

January 11, 2019 Broadband Privacy , CPNI , Data Protection , FCC , Privacy

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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How Well Do the Current Federal Privacy Proposals Protect Your Privacy?

December 21, 2018 Data Protection , Legislation , Privacy

Ever since the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica story broke, privacy has been the talk of the town in Washington, DC, and conventional wisdom is that Congress will begin debating comprehensive privacy legislation in earnest in 2019. In preparation, members of Congress are starting to drop their message bills and discussion drafts. Public Knowledge has evaluated each of the proposals so far, and we offer our initial take here.

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A Real Remedy the FTC Should Demand of Facebook

December 20, 2018 Antitrust , Charlotte Slaiman , Data Protection , FTC , Platform Competition , Privacy

It seems almost every week there are new revelations about Facebook’s data use and sharing policies. The Federal Trade Commission is currently investigating Facebook for a potential consent decree violation related to the release of user data to Cambridge Analytica. The new allegations of data misuse in the New York Times this week may also be a violation of the consent decree. They are at least worthy of FTC investigation. And the cache of previously sealed litigation documents published by a British Member of Parliament earlier this month seem to indicate that Facebook may have been strategically withholding this valuable data from “strategic competitors” such as upstart Vine. Taken together, the two stories paint a frightening picture. Was Facebook granting access to private user data to cement its market position, offering it up to the powerful and wielding it as a cudgel against potential competitors? At the close of the current investigation, the FTC should demand remedies that protect users’ privacy while encouraging competition on the Facebook platform and against Facebook itself.

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The Right to Life, Liberty, and Technology? How Civil Rights Are Violated in the Digital Age

August 2, 2018 Data Protection , Section 230 , Social Justice

Forget bitcoin; human information has become the true cryptocurrency of our world. Online discrimination and privacy breaches are happening at an alarming rate and affecting those most vulnerable in our society: minority groups, mothers, and the elderly.

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Is California’s New Privacy Law Right for the United States?

July 16, 2018 California , Consumer Privacy , Data Protection , Legislation , Privacy

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.

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The FTC Must Be Empowered to Protect Our Privacy

June 18, 2018 Cybersecurity , Data Protection , FTC , Legislation , Privacy

Back in 2011, the Federal Trade Commission alleged that Facebook deceived consumers by failing to keep its promises to protect user privacy. The two parties agreed to settle the charges through something called an “agreement containing consent order.” The Commission also signed a consent agreement with Google that same year. The FTC issued a final Decision and Consent Order regarding the Facebook allegations in 2012. (A consent order is an FTC enforcement tool that operates like a legal settlement.) Without admitting to the complaint’s counts, the parties involved signed a document that basically says, “we both agree to enter this agreement to resolve the allegations in the complaint, so now you have to do the following things, and if you fail to do any of them, the FTC is going to impose financial penalties.”

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The European Privacy Law You Haven’t Heard Of

June 15, 2018 Data Protection , European Union , GRPR , Privacy

The GDPR entered into force late last month, but that doesn’t mean the European Union’s mission to protect online privacy has stopped.

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