California Legislature reaches tentative agreement on consumer privacy rules

(Jun 22, 2018) The Los Angeles Times reports California Democrats have reached a tentative agreement with real estate mogul Alastair Mactaggart that would "enact major new consumer privacy rules in exchange for the withdrawal" of a robust privacy initiative that was set to go on the November ballot. According to the report, the deal is "contingent on legislation passing both houses and getting signed by Gov. Jerry Brown" before the June 28 deadline for the finalization of the November ballot. In a statement, M... Read More

Facebook bringing Messenger Kids to Canada, Peru

(Jun 22, 2018) Facebook announced it will be expanding its Messenger Kids app to Canada and Peru as it seeks to offer the service outside of the United States, CNET reports. Facebook is making the move despite criticism from advocacy groups arguing too much exposure to social media is detrimental to young children and teens. The tech company said it has worked with third-party child advocacy groups as it continues to work on the app, including Canadian not-for-profit group Media Smarts. The social media platfo... Read More

OPC funding research on Wi-Fi hot spot privacy risks

(Jun 15, 2018) The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada announced it is funding research on various topics, including privacy risks associated with Wi-Fi hot spots, MobileSyrup reports. The research project will examine privacy policies, the information leaked at Wi-Fi hot spots, and identify the ways malicious users attack vulnerabilities. The study will conclude with a public hot spot report card, as well as recommendations to address any issues. Other funded projects include a study on the privacy r... Read More

Popular Tik Tok app announces efforts to improve user privacy

(Jun 14, 2018) Chinese music video platform and social network Tik Tok announced plans to improve user privacy settings with new controls, such as deletion, private messaging and parental controls, the South China Morning Post reports. Tik Tok, the most downloaded iPhone app worldwide for the first quarter of 2018, has faced criticism for lacking privacy settings, as well as for underage users on the platform. A company statement said, “User privacy and protection is a critical issue for all social media and t... Read More

UK culture secretary points to shared responsibility to ensuring child safety online

(Jun 14, 2018) U.K. Culture Secretary Matt Hancock said the government and parents have a shared responsibility in ensuring online safety for children, The Guardian reports. “Keeping children safe online is mission-critical, and everybody has a responsibility. The parents have a responsibility to ensure that children use technology appropriately,” he said. Pointing to legislative plans that would force social media companies to carry greater responsibility for content, he said, “We don’t rule out legislation,”... Read More

Markey criticizes Facebook's answers on children's privacy

(Jun 13, 2018) Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., spoke out against how Facebook protects children’s online privacy, Broadcasting & Cable reports. Following the Cambridge Analytica revelations, Markey asked the tech company not to send social media ads targeted at children and to stop sharing children’s data with target marketers once they are 13 years old. While Facebook said it would not share data once children turn 13, it would not rule out placing ads within its Messenger Kids app. “Our youngest and most vulner... Read More

Op-ed: ED taking steps toward protecting student privacy

(Jun 13, 2018) The U.S. Department of Education should be noted for recent guidance developed to advise education agencies and school districts on how to protect student privacy while administering SAT and ACT exams, Jane Robbins writes in an op-ed for The Hill. Robbins writes that oftentimes, the voluntary pretest surveys were misconstrued by many as a requirement. Now, the ED’s Privacy Technical Assistance Center guidance warns that without appropriate transparency, consent and privacy safeguards, the option... Read More

Facebook launches initiative to educate users on sharing data

(Jun 12, 2018) Facebook has informed the U.S. Senate it has created an initiative to help educate users about sharing personal data, Bloomberg reports. TTC Labs is a group created by Facebook that is supported by more than 60 other organizations. Facebook wrote TTC Labs “seeks to pioneer new and more people-centric best practices for people to understand how their data is used by digital services, in ways that they find easy to understand and control.” The tech company wrote about TTC Labs as part of nearly 50... Read More

Google seeks dismissal of YouTube children's privacy lawsuit

(Jun 7, 2018) Google filed papers with U.S. District Court Judge Bruce Howe Hendricks asking for a privacy lawsuit against YouTube to be dismissed, MediaPost reports. The parent of a YouTube user is accusing Google of tracking information, such as IP addresses, cookies and device identifiers, in a way violating both California privacy law and the federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. The tech company denies it engaged in activity violating California’s law, stating any violations of the state’s pr... Read More

Amazon pulls CloudPets toys over security vulnerabilities

(Jun 7, 2018) Following research conducted by Mozilla on the security vulnerabilities within CloudPets smart toys, Amazon has pulled the products from its online store, CNET reports. Amazon’s decision comes after Walmart and Target also made the decision to stop selling the smart toys. Mozilla and cybersecurity research firm Cure53 found the Bluetooth vulnerabilities leading to the CloudPets data breach affecting 800,000 users last year had yet to be fixed. Ashley Boyd, Mozilla's vice president of advocacy, s... Read More