Calif. Supreme Court allows defense to gather private social media posts

(Jul 22, 2019) The Supreme Court of California has allowed the defense in a gang-related murder trial to obtain private social media posts, the Los Angeles Times reports. This is the first time this type of order has been enforced in California and, possibly, the country. The ruling comes one year after the California Supreme Court ruled the defense in the same case could have access to social media posts that were public at the time of the murders. The ruling allows trial judges to force the tech companies to... Read More

Big Tech’s Shift to Privacy

(Jul 21, 2019) An overview of the technology sector’s public expressions of privacy initiatives and values. Privacy is top-of-mind for technology companies and their consumers. Since Facebook’s data-sharing practices came under scrutiny following reporting on Cambridge Analytica, consumers and legislators have sharpened their interest in big tech’s use of data. In response, many companies continue to review, refine, and clarify their data practices for the benefit of consumers. Some of that clarification come... Read More

US lawmakers respond to Facebook's $5B FTC settlement

(Jul 15, 2019) Earlier this year it was reported Facebook expected to face a $3 to $5 billion fine from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission for potential violations of its 2011 consent decree over the Cambridge Analytica revelations. After months of whispers and speculation, the agency approved a $5 billion fine of the social media giant, according to a Wall Street Journal report published last Friday afternoon.  The FTC approved the settlement by a 3-2 vote, which was then leaked to the press. The Republican c... Read More

Partisan approaches show through at Trump's social media summit

(Jul 15, 2019) At U.S. President Donald Trump's social media summit last week, lawmakers once again revealed a partisan divide on how to address tech companies, The Hill reports. Trump and fellow Republicans believe less censorship is necessary to halt a perceived anti-conservative bias, which Trump said will be addressed when he hosts representatives from social media companies at the White House in the coming weeks. On the other side, Democrats believe those same tech giants need to be regulated in order to ... Read More

Facebook launches ad transparency tool

(Jul 12, 2019) Facebook launched a new transparency tool earlier this week that tells users why particular ads appear in their newsfeed, BuzzFeed News reports. The new feature, "Why Am I Seeing This Ad?" also tells users how the ad is linked to an ad agency or data broker and how to opt out of ad campaigns ran by third parties. “I think it is a good evolution of our transparency tools, and what we’re doing is listening to people’s feedback,” Facebook Director of Product Management Rob Leathern said. The tool w... Read More

Could limiting the use of personal data break up big tech?

(Jul 8, 2019) Users’ personal data could be at the center of the fight against big tech, The New York Times reports. Earlier this year, Germany’s competition authority found Facebook violated the country’s laws by coercing people into giving up their personal data. German Federal Cartel Office President Andreas Mundt argues that tech giants don’t need to be broken up as some American lawmakers have called for. Instead, he thinks “governments should limit their ability to collect data” and that approach will w... Read More

Wikipedia co-founder calls for social media strike to protest privacy issues

(Jul 3, 2019) Wikipedia Co-Founder Larry Sanger wants people to avoid social media for two days in an effort to highlight privacy concerns on the platforms, The Hill reports. Sanger also wrote a "Declaration of Digital Independence" that declares users and not the platforms own their personal data and advocates for a decentralized social media. Sanger is calling for the strike to happen Thursday and Friday and wants strikers to sign his declaration. Tech companies have faced scrutiny over how they protect per... Read More

Italian DPA fines Facebook 1M euros over Cambridge Analytica

(Jun 28, 2019) Italy’s data protection authority, Garante, announced it has fined Facebook 1 million euros over Cambridge Analytica, Politico reports. The agency found 57 citizens downloaded the This Is Your Digital Life app tied to Cambridge Analytica; however, the DPA found no information had been passed onto the firm. The fine is the largest Facebook had to face for Cambridge Analytica, as it surpasses the 500,000 GBP penalty issued by the U.K. Information Commissioner’s Office. The fine issued by Garante w... Read More

Study: Citizens continue to use social media despite privacy concerns

(Jun 28, 2019) Research conducted by Insights West finds Canadian citizens continue to use social media platforms despite privacy concerns, News 1130 reports. Insights West President Steve Mossop said 82% of Canadians use Facebook on a weekly basis, followed by YouTube at 63%. Mossop added while respondents have expressed their concerns about privacy, it has not shown up in use rate. “The reality is the numbers don’t show that whatsoever. We also have about 80 per cent of social media users are worried that th... Read More

Facebook agrees to share hate speech suspects' ID info with French judges

(Jun 26, 2019) State Secretary for the Digital Economy of France Cédric O announced Facebook has agreed to hand over to judges the identification information of users in the country suspected of hate speech, Reuters reports. Facebook has previously transferred IP addresses and other identification data to French judges in cases related to terrorist and other violent incidents. Following a meeting between Cédric O and Facebook Head of Global Affairs Nick Clegg, the tech company agreed to extend its efforts to h... Read More