[Commentary] Is it time to recognize that Facebook, and ‘Big Tech’ at large, may be a bug in our democracy? In Part 1, I examined how the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica story illustrates the harmful effects of “Surveillance Capitalism.” The erosion of our privacy is contributing to the declining health of our democratic discourse. Moreover though, Facebook has facilitated the proliferation of hate speech, fake news, and international electoral interference.
Supreme Court justices wrestled with Microsoft’s dispute with the US Justice Department over whether prosecutors can force technology companies to hand over data stored overseas, with some signaling support for the government and others urging Congress to pass a law to resolve the issue. Microsoft argues that laws have not caught up to modern computing infrastructure and it should not hand over data stored internationally. The Justice Department argues that refusing to turn over easily accessible data impedes criminal investigations.
Around the world, governments are moving simultaneously to limit the power of tech companies with an urgency and breadth that no single industry had experienced before. Their motivation varies.
In a series of letters, six US senators questioned eight digital advertising exchanges about the possible sale of Americans’ personal information to foreign-owned companies. The senators are seeking information about the sharing of Americans’ data through “real time bidding” – the auction process used to place many targeted digital advertisements.
T-Mobile says it will use its customers’ web browsing and app usage data to sell targeted ads unless those customers opt out.
Rep Suzan DelBene (D-WA) introduced the Information Transparency and Personal Data Control Act, legislation that would create a national data privacy standard to protect our most personal information and bring our laws into the 21st Century. The bill protects personal information including data relating to financial, health, genetic, biometric, geolocation, sexual orientation, citizenship and immigration status, Social Security Numbers, and religious beliefs. It also keeps information about children under 13 years of age safe.
The Federal Communications Commission proposes to add a new system of records, FCC/WCB–4, Consumer Challenge Process, to its inventory of records systems subject to the Privacy Act of 1974. The Consumer Challenge Process system of records contains personally identifiable information (PII) submitted by individuals, or third parties on behalf of individuals, needed to establish eligibility to challenge the accuracy of Participants’ submissions, provide sufficient information for Participants to respond to a challenge, and create accurate maps of Participant coverage or eligible locations.
A Federal Communications Commission notice published in the Federal Register announced the reestablishment of four computer matching programs the FCC and Universal Service Administrative Company will conduct with Missouri’s Department of Social Services, North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services, Pennsylvania’s Department of Human Services, and Tennessee’s Department of Human Services. The purpose of these particular matching programs is to verify Lifeline eligibility by establishing that applicants or subscribers in Missouri, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee are
We’ve set the foreign policy priorities for the Biden administration by asking a few simple questions: What will our foreign policy mean for American workers and their families? What do we need to do around the world to make us stronger here at home? And what do we need to do at home to make us stronger in the world?
Google plans to stop selling ads based on individuals’ browsing across multiple websites, a change that could hasten upheaval in the digital advertising industry. In 2022 Google plans to stop using or investing in tracking technologies that uniquely identify web users as they move from site to site across the internet. The decision, coming from the world’s biggest digital-advertising company, could help push the industry away from the use of such individualized tracking, which has come under increasing criticism from privacy advocates and faces scrutiny from regulators.