Mauritius Ratifies Convention 108+, 36 Countries Back Privacy Convention

22 09 2020
EPIC
September 15, 2020
 
This week, Mauritius signed and ratified the Modernized International Privacy Convention. Mauritius became the sixth state to officially ratify the modernized Convention 108, and the 36th country to become a signatory. The Council of Europe Convention 108+ is the first and only binding international legal instrument for data protection. Updated in 2018, the Modernized Convention includes new provisions on biometric data, algorithmic transparency, enhanced oversight. Non-members of the Council of Europe are able to sign the Convention, and EPIC and consumer groups have long urged the United States to ratify the international Privacy Convention.

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Senate Republicans Introduce Weak “SAFE DATA Act”

21 09 2020
EPIC

Sept. 18. 2020
Senators Roger Wicker, John Thune, Marsha Blackburn, and Deb Fischer have introduced the “SAFE DATA Act,” which relies on the outdated notice-and-choice model that allows companies to diminish the rights of consumers and use personal data to benefit the company but not the individual. “Senator Wicker’s SAFE DATA Act allows companies to collect any personal data it pleases as long as it discloses it in its privacy policy,” said EPIC Policy Director Caitriona Fitzgerald. “And it prohibits states from adopting or enforcing any data privacy or data security laws.

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<https://epic.org/2020/09/senate-republicans-introduce-w.html>

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Tech Companies Block Washington State Privacy Law

21 09 2020
EPIC
March 13, 2020
Last minute lobbying by big tech companies blocked passage of the Washington Privacy Act. The state privacy law have given consumers the right to access, correct and delete their personal data held by tech firms. EPIC and a broad coalition of privacy groups backed a comprehensive bill that would include, as privacy laws typically do, the right of consumers to bring legal action but that was opposed by industry groups. The Washington legislature did pass a modest bill limiting the government use of facial recognition technology. EPIC has long supported federal baseline legislation and the creation of a data protection agency. EPIC has also called for a moratorium on face surveillance. The EPIC State Policy Project monitors privacy bills nationwide.

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<https://epic.org/2020/03/tech-companies-block-washingto.html>

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New Rule Promotes Patient Access But Raises Privacy Concern

15 09 2020
EPIC
March 9, 2020
The Department of Health and Human Services finalized rules that require insurance and healthcare companies to provide patient access to their medical data in a format suitable for cellphones and other electronic devices. However, federal privacy protections under HIPAA no longer apply once patients transfer their data to consumer apps, creating serious risks to medical privacy. The CEO of the American Medical Association warned regulators that “These practices jeopardize patient privacy, commoditize an individual’s most sensitive information, and threaten patient willingness to utilize technology to manage their health.” Tech firms pushed for these changes. Last year, the Wall Street Journal reported that Google’s ‘Project Nightingale’ intends to amass health data on millions of Americans. There will be a six-month period before the rule goes into effect.

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<https://epic.org/2020/03/new-rule-promotes-patient-acce.html>

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Facebook Brings Suit against Mobile Marketing Firm for Siphoning User Data without Authorization

15 09 2020

Proskauer Lex Blog: Media and Technology Blog

In continuing its push to enforce its terms and policies against developers that engage in unauthorized collection or scraping of user data, Facebook brought suit last month against mobile marketing and data analytics firm OneAudience LLC. (Facebook, Inc. v. OneAudience LLC, No. 20-01461 (N.D. Cal. Complaint filed Feb. 27, 2020)). Facebook alleges that OneAudience harvested Facebook users’ profile data and device data in contravention of Facebook’s terms and developer policies. OneAudience purportedly gathered this data by paying app developers to bundle OneAudience’s software development kit (SDK) into their apps and then harvesting data for those users that logged into those apps via Facebook credentials.

Facebook users, including developers and page administrators, are required to assent to Facebook’s terms and various platform policies when a Facebook account is created. According to Facebook’s Complaint, . . .

In its Complaint, Facebook alleged that around September 2019, OneAudience offered to pay app developers to bundle its SDK into their apps. The SDK allegedly allowed OneAudience to collect data about users’ devices and their Facebook (and some other social media) accounts in instances where the user logged into the particular app using their Facebook credentials (e.g., the “Sign in with Facebook” option). The data included user names, email addresses, country, time zone, Facebook ID, and, in limited instances, gender, all of which were allegedly used by OneAudience for targeted marketing services. OneAudience also allegedly collected device data such as call logs, cell tower and other geolocation data, contacts, browser information, email, and information about installed apps.

More

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FCC Proposes Fines for Wireless Location Data Violations

15 09 2020
EPIC
February 28, 2020
Today the FCC announced proposed fines against T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint for selling customers’ location information. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said: “This FCC will not tolerate phone companies putting Americans’ privacy at risk.” The companies are given an an opportunity to respond to the FCC before the Commission makes a final decision.
[ed: some pundits note that the amounts, when divided amoung the 4 companies, amount to little more than a slap on the wrist. All 4 companies have appealed the proposed ruling/fine and as of Sept, 2020, have not paid fines that are yet to be finalized by the FCC]

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<https://epic.org/2020/02/fcc-proposes-fines-for-wireles.html>

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Privacy & Data Security Update for 2019-FTC

14 09 2020

FTC
Feb, 2020

“Using its existing authority, the Commission has brought hundreds of privacy and data security cases to date. To better equip the Commission to meet its statutory mission to protect consumers, the FTC has also called on Congress to enact comprehensive privacy and data security legislation, enforceable by the FTC” .pdf report file

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https://www.ftc.gov/reports/privacy-data-security-update-2019

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Clearview AI, Face Scanning Company, Loses Customer Database

14 09 2020
EPIC
February 26, 2020
Hackers have stolen the entire client database of facial recognition company Clearview AI. Clearview AI scraped over three million images from the internet to build its facial recognition database. The company sells facial recognition services to law enforcement agencies.

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<https://epic.org/2020/02/clearview-ai-face-scanning-com.html>

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“A Big Victory for Privacy Groups” – Facebook Settlement

14 09 2020
EPIC
January 30, 2020
This week Facebook agreed to pay $550 million to settle a lawsuit about the use of facial recognition technology. The New York Times called the settlement “A Big Victory for Privacy Groups.”

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<https://epic.org/2020/01/a-big-victory-for-privacy-grou.html>

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Appeals Court Greenlights Privacy Suit Over Facebook’s Invasive Web Tracking

14 09 2020
EPIC
April 9, 2020
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled today that Facebook users whose privacy was violated by Facebook’s tracking of web browsing can bring suit against the social media platform. The court held that consumers had the legal right, or “standing,” to sue Facebook and that most legal claims could go forward.

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<https://epic.org/2020/04/appeals-court-greenlights-priv.html>

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