FTC and FCC called on to enforce privacy regulation

(Jan 17, 2019) Multichannel News reports that Public Knowledge has called on the U.S. Federal Communications Commission and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to enforce customer privacy network information regulation following a report that found a California VoIP provider left millions of text messages and call records on an unsecured database for months. The article states that Public Knowledge Senior Vice President Harold Feld called for the FTC and FCC “to get off the privacy sidelines and into the game.” ... Read More

Bell Canada asks users to share data for targeted ads

(Jan 11, 2019) Bell Canada, the country’s largest telecommunications group, made a decision to begin asking customers for permission to track their activity in an effort to deliver tailored marketing, The Canadian Press reports. Teresa Scassa, who teaches law at the University of Ottawa and holds the Canada Research Chair in Information Law and Policy, said that while the company did a good job in explaining its intent, those who opt in will be providing valuable information with “little to no compensation for... Read More

Senators call for location data investigation

(Jan 10, 2019) The Washington Post reports several Democratic senators are calling for a government investigation into the selling of users' geolocation data. The calls come after a report by Motherboard on the sale of geolocation data. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., said, "The American people have an absolute right to the privacy of their data, which is why I’m extraordinarily troubled by reports of this system of repackaging and reselling location data to unregulated third party services for potentially nefar... Read More

Investigation finds user location data is for sale on the cheap

(Jan 9, 2019) An article for Motherboard reports that some major telecom companies sell access to customers’ location data. After paying a bounty hunter $300 and providing a phone number, reporter Joseph Cox discovered that he could be tracked to within a few hundred meters. The investigation found that using data from aggregator Zumigo, credit-reporting company MicroBilt sells access to phone geolocation data “with minimal oversight” for about $12.95. Since reporting, the article states that MicroBilt has re... Read More

New EECC means changes to EU telecommunications legislative framework

(Jan 1, 2019) The Council of the European Union has published its new European Electronic Communications Code, updating the EU’s rules for telecom/electronic communication services. The new rules mean that as of Dec. 21, 2020, the obligations of the current ePrivacy Directive will apply to over-the-top services, in addition to traditional telecom providers. Rosa Barcelo and Matthew Buckwell write in this Privacy Tracker post that this is primarily due to a change in the definition of electronic communication ... Read More

New European Electronic Communications Code means the application of the ePrivacy Directive to OTTs

(Dec 21, 2018) The ePrivacy Directive (formally ‘Directive 2002/58/EC’) establishes specific rules on privacy for the electronic communications sector, such as limiting the use of traffic and location data and prohibiting listening to communications. As of Dec. 21, 2020, the obligations of the current ePrivacy Directive will apply to instant messaging applications, email, internet phone calls and personal messaging provided through social media — collectively, over-the-top services — in addition to traditiona... Read More

Australia passes controversial encryption law

(Dec 6, 2018) On Thursday, Australia's Parliament passed a bill mandating that technology companies assist the nation's law enforcement to bypass encryption in private messaging apps, Fortune reports. The Assistance and Access Bill will force companies to build so-called backdoors, "but only if the backdoors don't constitute 'systemic weaknesses' in the service's security," the report states. The bill will need royal assent, which, according to the report, is expected before Christmas. The Labor party had tri... Read More

Thune, Markey unveil stricter robocall legislation

(Nov 19, 2018) Sens. John Thune, R-S.D., and Ed Markey, D-Mass., have unveiled legislation aimed to crack down on robocalls, Reuters reports. The bill would give the U.S. Federal Communications Commission the power to impose fines up to $10,000 per call for any company found to have intentionally violated telemarketing rules. Carriers would also be required to install technology designed to verify whether incoming calls are legitimate before they reach citizens’ phones. “Existing civil penalty rules were desig... Read More