White House releases guidance on AI and report on automated vehicles

(Jan 9, 2020) Acting U.S. Office of Management and Budget Director Russell Vought has issued a draft memo regarding guidance on how government agencies should approach the "Executive Order on Maintaining American Leadership in Artificial Intelligence." The guidance seeks to support agencies' efforts to create "a robust innovation ecosystem" around AI while preserving values and principles, including privacy. The guidance also discusses the need for transparency as it relates to the collection, processing and ... Read More

CBP rolls out DNA collection for border detainees

(Jan 7, 2020) U.S. Customs and Border Protection has begun a new DNA-collection pilot program for individuals taken into custody at U.S. borders, Mashable reports. According to a Department of Homeland Security privacy impact assessment, CBP will collect fingerprints of detainees ages 14 and up to be added to a Federal Bureau of Investigation database. The PIA also indicated "there is a risk of over collection of information," particularly in the case of young children innocent of any crimes. The pilot will b... Read More

Digital era poses privacy problems for US undercover intelligence

(Jan 3, 2020) The U.S. government is experiencing difficulties with keeping the identities of undercover U.S. intelligence agents private, according to Yahoo News. The privacy issues began with a 2014 data breach of the Office of Personnel Management, which divulged fingerprints, personnel records and security clearance background information on 22 million former and active civil servants. That incident and increased hacking efforts across the board have made privacy and secrecy for undercover personnel a cha... Read More

Op-ed: Canadian privacy reform should include political parties

(Jan 3, 2020) In an op-ed for The Globe and Mail, University of Victoria Political Science Professor Colin Bennett writes that in assessing reforms to Canada's privacy laws, politicians need to consider incorporating regulations on themselves and political parties in general. "Privacy laws apply to political parties in most other democracies," Bennett writes. "They apply in British Columbia. There is no credible reason why they should not also apply at the federal level." Bennett adds there's no shortage of e... Read More

Chinese law enforcement increases public surveillance

(Dec 18, 2019) The New York Times reports public surveillance by Chinese law enforcement is on the rise and stirring privacy concerns. Police and private databases show authorities are combining older and modern-day surveillance technologies to monitor and identify citizens nationwide. Phone scanners, facial-recognition technology, and face and fingerprint databases are among the tools being deployed. "Each person’s data forms a trail," Shenzhen-based tech worker Agnes Ouyang said. "It can be used by the gover... Read More

What you should know about India's forward-moving privacy bill

(Dec 17, 2019) India’s proposed Personal Data Protection Bill — which would regulate how data of the country’s 1.3 billion people is stored, processed and transferred — could be on track for approval early next year. Following the legislation’s introduction in Parliament last week, a Joint Parliamentary Committee of 20 members of Lok Sabha and 10 members from Rajya Sabha was formed. The committee will review the bill and submit a report with its findings to Parliament in January before the end of the 2020 bud... Read More

Audit reveals NSA data retention issues

(Dec 17, 2019) Nextgov reports a review by the U.S. National Security Agency Office of the Inspector General has called into question the agency's retention limits on "communications or electronics intelligence or foreign instrumentation intelligence" data. The IG's audit said the retention policies for signals intelligence data, which is collected under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, carried "deficiencies" that "have the potential to impact civil liberties and individual privacy." Additionally, th... Read More

Australia to review Privacy Act with eye toward 2020 amendments

(Dec 12, 2019) The Sydney Morning Herald reports the Australian government plans to review the Privacy Act for reform, but updates aren't likely to occur until sometime next year. The review comes after the government previously announced its intentions to amend the country's privacy legislation last March. To shape potential reform, the government is planning consultations on the definition of personal information, increasing online platforms' obligations to notify users about data collection, requiring platf... Read More

Maryland's driver surveillance brings privacy concerns

(Dec 12, 2019) Surveillance practices used to track Maryland drivers and traffic are drawing the attention of privacy advocates, The Washington Post reports. The state uses three forms of traffic data collection, each of which collects different forms of driving data, including some personally identifiable information, with varying data retention limits. "I don’t think it’s really an issue of whether you have privacy in a particular moment in time," Electronic Frontier Foundation Senior Investigative Researche... Read More

DOJ plans increased focus, scrutiny on big tech

(Dec 11, 2019) The Washington Post reports U.S. Attorney General William Barr has indicated the Department of Justice is exploring new options to effectively probe and regulate big tech companies. "We are thinking critically about how DOJ and our state partners can address other topics related to online platforms such as privacy, transparency, consumer fraud, child exploitation or public safety," Barr said, noting a bipartisan outlook on the need to address big tech's missteps. DOJ has begun executing Barr's s... Read More