Podcast: NZ commissioner calls for post-terrorism reforms

(Apr 19, 2019) In this episode of The Privacy Advisor Podcast, New Zealand Privacy Commissioner John Edwards discusses the privacy landscape in New Zealand and ongoing updates to the country's privacy law of 1993. The regulator is unique in that he does not have fining powers, but he says that's working just fine. He'll explain why. Edwards also discusses what he calls necessary reforms to the way social media platforms respond to modern-day terrorist attacks. Specifically, he is frustrated with Facebook's res... Read More

Facebook to challenge release of FTC privacy reports

(Apr 18, 2019) Bloomberg reports Facebook plans to fight the disclosure of privacy reports it submitted to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. The Electronic Privacy Information Center sued the FTC to make the privacy assessments public. EPIC has challenged redactions, which the FTC made to protect Facebook's business practices. As part of its 2011 Consent Order, Facebook has been required to send assessments to the FTC every other year over a 20-year period. Meanwhile, Business Insider reports Facebook alleged... Read More

Gov. Cuomo seeks New York's thoughts on data privacy

(Apr 17, 2019) The New York Daily News reports Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D-N.Y., is sending out a data privacy survey to New Yorkers. The survey includes inquiries on respondents' smart devices, operating systems, and whether respondents know how to access and alter account privacy settings. The survey also asks people to describe the personal information they believe is being collected, stored or sold by social media outlets. Results will be used to inform state policies and could lead to new laws and regulations, a... Read More

New app eases management of privacy across platforms

(Apr 17, 2019) Fast Company reports on Jumbo, a new iOS app that allows a user to alter privacy settings for various accounts using one interface. Right now, the app can set Facebook privacy settings and clear Google search history and voice recordings from Amazon's Alexa. The privacy-setting capabilities will extend to Twitter, Instagram and Amazon this summer. Jumbo CEO Pierre Valade said his company will not have access to the accounts of those using the new app as all processing is done on users' phones an... Read More

Canadian government 'actively considering' regulation against social media companies

(Apr 12, 2019) The Canadian government is “actively considering” regulations against social media companies, BuzzFeed News and the Toronto Star report. Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould said “all options are on the table” for the government to apply domestic rules to the international organizations. Gould added the Canadian government has spoken with representatives from other countries and professionals within its own borders to determine the actions it should take. “We recognize that self-regulat... Read More

Proposed bill would ban social media companies' use of 'dark patterns'

(Apr 10, 2019) A bill introduced by Sens. Mark Warner, D-Va., and Deb Fischer, R-Neb., would prohibit the use of alleged deceptive practices by social media companies, CNBC reports. The Deceptive Experiences To Online Users Reduction Act takes aim at "dark patterns," which are tactics companies use to get more information from users. Websites may prompt patrons for their phone numbers and email addresses in order to continue to use the platform. The bill would result in the creation of a new regulator within t... Read More

Washington grapples with content moderation

(Apr 10, 2019) U.S. lawmakers are expected to increase scrutiny of Silicon Valley’s content moderation in hearings scheduled this week as the conversation continues around how to regulate big tech while protecting free speech, The Washington Post reports. As Congress grapples with issues such as hate speech and disinformation, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., expressed hesitation with creating regulation around content moderation and said, “Let's see what happens by just pressuring th... Read More

Facebook adjusts TOS following calls from EU regulators

(Apr 9, 2019) Following a call for change from EU regulators, Facebook will adjust its terms of service to create more clarity for users, The Wall Street Journal reports. Facebook is set to make the European Commission–mandated changes by June. The updates include disclosing to users how the social network makes money by using personal information to sell targeted advertising and explaining that it can be held liable for misusing user data. “Today Facebook finally shows commitment to more transparency and str... Read More

Poll: Americans do not trust tech companies, federal government with data protection

(Apr 8, 2019) A recent survey shows a majority of Americans lack confidence in the federal government and tech companies' data protection capabilities, The Wall Street Journal reports. The joint poll of 1,000 American adults by the WSJ and NBC News reveals skepticism regarding data safety with Amazon, Google and Facebook, as well as the U.S. government. At least 75% of those surveyed either have no trust or limited trust in any of the four entities. Facebook has the least credibility among respondents as it g... Read More

New Zealand privacy commissioner questions Facebook's livestreaming policies

(Apr 8, 2019) New Zealand Privacy Commissioner John Edwards voiced his concerns about Facebook's livestreaming policies, the Guardian reports. In a series of Twitter posts, Edwards was critical of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's unwillingness to change the social network's live technology. “It is a technology which is capable of causing great harm,” Edwards said in an interview with Radio New Zealand after his tweets. Zuckerberg said in an interview with ABC that making tech modifications, like adding time del... Read More