Californians for Consumer Privacy
Data Privacy Digest
This week, we're continuing to contemplate how giant corporations are collecting troves of information about users and what tools consumers and governments have to rein it in. We're keeping in mind that when the California Consumer Privacy Act goes into effect in ten months, Californians will start to be able to exercise their right to know what information is collected about them, and we can start to shed light on even more data sharing practices.
It’s time for this week’s Data Privacy Digest:
In California cities, JUMP scooters have gained considerable popularity. There is a growing tension between Uber, the scooters' operating company, and the cities in which they operate over data sharing.
"The next big political fight over data privacy may center on an unlikely piece of technology: The scooters currently flying around streets and scattered on sidewalks in cities across the country. And as always, it's brewing first in California, the state that last year enacted a landmark consumer privacy law that's roiling Silicon Valley and Washington policymakers.
"In Los Angeles, a dispute over how the city manages data embedded in Uber-operated scooters has emerged as a leading-edge privacy issue, foreshadowing a debate over the government’s role in managing sensitive data in a new era of connected transit."
As previously covered in this digest, Germany's antitrust authority determined that Facebook could not combine data from its other entities without user consent. Now, some are starting to think about how antitrust action coexists with consumer privacy.
"In a landmark decision to rein in Facebook's data-collection practices, German officials this month told the tech giant that it could no longer combine data from its other entities—Instagram and WhatsApp—without users' consent. Crucially, the decision didn't come from Germany's privacy regulator; rather, it came from the country's antitrust authority."
"Regulating the use of data needs to involve more than just antitrust law—because only by having clear privacy rules is it possible to fully protect consumers' privacy."
Washington Post: "Facebook says it will dramatically improve privacy. But it hasn’t fully delivered on past promises."
"Mark Zuckerberg insisted this week that he’s serious about privacy — so much so that he’s planning to transform Facebook into a more refined social experience. But the social network’s chief executive has made similar commitments in the past, with mixed results.
"In spring 2018, at the height of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, he said users would soon have a feature called “Clear History” to erase the trail of apps and websites they frequented off the platform. But this modest tool, far less ambitious than his vision for a reoriented Facebook, has yet to materialize.
"Privacy experts were quick to note the timing of Zuckerberg’s memo, which arrived as regulators around the globe are circling. They also questioned how Facebook’s business model — harvesting people’s information to show them ads — would adapt when private communication takes center stage."
To help contextualize Facebook's move to combine messaging platforms and new claim to prioritize privacy, this New York Times video explaining China's internet (or rather, intranet) resurfaced this week.
The video discusses "super apps" – China's answer to censored Western platforms that have evolved into single apps like WeChat that can host messaging, commerce, transportation and dating platforms all at once, able to collect incredible amounts of data on users.