Cat Zakrzewski

Sen Josh Hawley (R-MO) emerges as one of toughest Republican critics of Big Tech

Freshman Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO), 39, (the country's youngest senator) is swiftly emerging as one of the Repulican Party's toughest critics of Big Tech. At a March 12 privacy hearing, he slammed Google for collecting people's location data on Android phones -- even after they try to disable the tracking function. Sen Hawley wants Google to give consumers a clear way to opt out of invasive location tracking. He says many members of the committee — including Sen Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) — told him they were not aware that Google tracks people at this level.

Democrats hope 'Save the Internet' will reap political dividends

The Save the Internet Act, a measure from congressional Democrats to restore Obama-era network neutrality rules, is most likely dead on arrival. Though the bill has a strong chance of passing a Democratic-controlled House, it’s not a priority in a Republican-led Senate. It’s even less likely that President Donald Trump would sign a law reversing his administration’s decision.

Critics say FTC's fine against app now known as TikTok doesn't go far enough

Some Federal Trade Commission officials are calling the agency's $5.7 million fine against Musical.ly (now known as TikTok) for children’s privacy violations a “big win.” But critics say it highlights how Washington regulators aren’t doing enough to keep kids safe online. “While this fine may be a historic high for a [Children's Online Privcacy Protection Act (COPPA)] violation, it is not high enough for the harm that is done to children and to deter violations of the law in the future by other companies,” Sen Ed Markey (D-MA) said.

Is the FTC powerful enough to be an effective privacy cop? New report raises questions

The Federal Trade Commission is supposed to be the US government’s top Internet privacy cop. But a new Government Accountability Office report report raises questions about whether the agency has the resources and authority it needs to protect consumers. In the past decade, the FTC has filed just 101 enforcement actions regarding Internet privacy. While nearly all of the actions resulted in settlements that required companies to take action, in most cases the FTC didn’t have the authority to issue fines.

Facebook is having trouble keeping its fact-checking partners

Snopes, one of Facebook's high-profile fact-checking partners, and the Associated Press are not renewing its contract with the social network -- dealing a blow to a program Facebook executives have said is a key line of defense in their fight against disinformation. It was no longer practical for Snopes to participate in the partnership, said Snopes Vice President of Operations Vinny Green, because having such a high-profile deal with one company prevented Snopes from doing fact-checking work around the rest of the Internet.

Congressional Black Caucus Statement on Russian Attempts to Suppress African American Turnout in 2016 Election

The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) – led by Chairman L. Cedric Richmond (D-LA), and Congressional Black Caucus Diversity Task Force Co-Chairs, Reps Barbara Lee (D-CA) and GK Butterfield (D-NC) – issued the following joint statement in response to a new report prepared for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, which reveals Russia targeted African American voters in attempts to suppress the vote in the 2016 election:

More than 200 companies are calling for a national privacy law. Here's an inside look at their proposal.

A broad coalition of more than 200 retailers, banks and technology companies is releasing new recommendations for national privacy legislation in a clear push to get out in front of lawmakers promising to rein in their data collection practices in the next Congress. The Business Roundtable’s consumer privacy legislation framework calls on the United States to adopt a national privacy law that calls on companies to give consumers more control of their data and form a national standard for breach notification. Recommendations to lawmakers include: 

Amazon is now at the center of a debate over public safety versus privacy

A New Hampshire judge’s attempt to compel Amazon to share recordings from an Echo device at the scene of an alleged double murder is putting a fine point on law enforcement’s growing demand for data from Internet of Things devices. Prosecutors are seeking two days of recordings from the smart speaker in a Farmington (NH) home where two women were found dead in Jan 2017.

There is more phony political news on social media now than in 2016, report says

There’s even more phony or misleading political news circulating on social media than there was in 2016, according to a new University of Oxford report that casts doubt on tech companies’ attempts to crack down on disinformation ahead of the midterms. The report also found that social media users were more apt to share “junk news” than what researchers considered “professional content,” which includes news from established media outlets and information from the government, academics or political candidates.

President Trump's refusal to give up his iPhone sets dangerous precedent

President Donald Trump’s reported refusal to give up his personal iPhone demonstrates the complications of keeping government officials secure at a time when they are increasingly tied to their phones by the time they take office.