Why a US federal privacy law could be worse than no law at all

By Jeff Sovern—St. John’s University5 minute Read

Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis called privacy the “right to be let alone.” Perhaps Congress should give states trying to protect consumer data the same right.

For years, a gridlocked Congress ignored privacy, apart from occasionally scolding companies such as Equifax and Marriott after their major data breaches. In its absence, states have taken the lead in experimenting with privacy-related laws.

California, for example, recently passed legislation giving citizens the right to know what data businesses have on them – and to block the information’s sale to third parties. It’s the first of its kind in […] Read more

Congress is considering privacy legislation — be afraid — GCN

COMMENTARY

Congress is considering privacy legislation — be afraid

By Jeff Sovern
May 17, 2019

Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis called privacy the “right to be let alone.” Perhaps Congress should give states trying to protect consumer data the same right.

For years, a gridlocked Congress ignored privacy, apart from occasionally scolding companies such as Equifax and Marriott after their major data breaches. In its absence, states have taken the lead in experimenting with privacy-related laws.


[…] Read more

Privacy Laws: Should Congress Wait For States Before Acting?

By Jeff Sovern, St. John’s University via The Conversation

Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis called privacy the “right to be let alone.” Perhaps Congress should give states trying to protect consumer data the same right.

For years, a gridlocked Congress ignored privacy, apart from occasionally scolding companies such as Equifax and Marriott after their major data breaches. In its absence, states have taken the lead in experimenting with privacy-related laws.

California, for example, recently passed legislation giving citizens the right to know what data businesses have on them – and to block the information’s sale to third parties. It’s the first of […] Read more

Privacy Commission report shows people struggle to get timely access to their credit reports

Everyone has a right to see the credit reports compiled about them within 20 working days of asking for them, but Privacy Commissioner John Edwards has found that’s not happening in all cases.

Secret shopper trials conducted by the commission showed the three credit reporting companies Centrix, Equifax and Ilion all failed to give some people access to their credit reports in the 20 working days the Credit Reporting Privacy Code demands.

Credit reports are dossiers of information on individuals collected by the three privately-owned companies, and contain information on how well individuals are managing their financial lives, including how often they […] Read more

FTC asks Congress to create national privacy law to regulate big tech’s use of personal data / Boing Boing

Members of the United States Federal Trade Commission (FCC) on Wednesday asked Congress to create a national privacy law that would regulate how technology giants like Facebook and Google gather, store, and share the personal data of users.

“As we have learned from the concerning privacy issues surrounding Cambridge Analytica and Facebook, and from massive data breaches like the one at Equifax, there is little reason to believe that consumers can trust these companies with our personal data,” said Frank Pallone (D-NJ), who heads the energy and commerce committee.

Cecilia Kang at the New York Times:

In testimony before the House Energy and […] Read more

Ahead of Facebook Fine, FTC to Face Questions Over Privacy

America’s top consumer watchdog will face questions from congressional lawmakers this week concerning a veritable laundry list of privacy-related incidents, including many that will be centered around Facebook’s own protracted series of failures.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee is holding its first oversight hearing for the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in nine months, and the first since the Democrats won control of the House last fall. Privacy concerns, stemming from major security incidents over the past two years, including Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica incident and the commission’s ongoing investigation into the Equifax data breach, will largely dominate the conversation.

Additionally, Wednesday’s […] Read more

Epsilon Could Push Publicis Into A New Privacy Ballgame

With its $4.4 billion acquisition of Epsilon/Conversant, Publicis Groupe becomes a data controller – and that ups the regulatory ante under the General Data Protection Regulation and, likely, any other privacy legislation that comes down the pike.

Controllers, in GDPR parlance, determine how and why personal data is processed. Controllers are also required to establish a legal basis for the processing of data, which usually means being responsible for collecting and managing consent, if consent is what’s called for.

It’s the controller’s job to make sure that its data processor partners are doing a proper job under the law.

Being classified as a controller […] Read more

Take a stand for consumer privacy: The anti-surveillance economy

UK mass surveillance programs ruled illegal by European Court of Human Rights
Bulk data collection revealed by Edward Snowden has been been found to violate privacy rights of UK citizens.

“If You’re Not Paying For It, You’re The Product . . . ” 

If you have worked in or around tech for the last decade, you have heard — or likely spoken — this irreverent remark about the data economy. While critics are all too willing to give this […] Read more