Online privacy

Virginia governor signs nation’s second state consumer privacy bill

Gov. Ralph Northam (D-VA) signed data privacy legislation into law, making Virginia the second state in the nation to adopt its own data protection rules. The law, known as the Consumer Data Protection Act, had broad support from the tech industry, including Amazon, which is building an Arlington (VA) headquarters. The legislation will allow residents of the commonwealth to opt out of having their data collected and sold, similar to a California law that went into effect in 2020.

House Antitrust Subcommittee's three big ideas to take on tech power

On paper, Feb 25’s House Antitrust Subcommittee hearing was about analyzing how big tech platforms act as gatekeepers and create barriers to entry — but really it was about testing out three new avenues for keeping tech companies in line and seeing which ones might gain support from tech-skeptical Republican representatives. But at the hearing, the subcommittee moved beyond calling out bad behavior and laid out three big areas where Congress could actually take action:

Notice of a new system of records for Emergency Broadband Benefit Program

The Federal Communications Commission is establishing a new system of records, FCC/WCB–3, Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, subject to the Privacy Act of 1974. This system of records is maintained for use in determining whether a member of a household meets the eligibility criteria to qualify for a discount on the cost of internet service and a subsidy for low-cost devices such as computers and tablets; ensuring benefits are not duplicated; dispute resolution regarding eligibility for the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program; customer surveys; audit; verification of a provider’s represent

The Need for Internet Interstate Infrastructure

Sustainability when looking at a digital infrastructure plan needs to take cybersecurity and data privacy into account. In the modern world, data is a currency. From the dark web to marketing analytics, data has a financial value. The government needs to address these issues as part of establishing a nationwide internet infrastructure. Relying solely on internet service providers to build the infrastructure and secure it will fail. Regulations do not secure information or cloud services; they serve as deterrents. The federal government needs to take action to fill in security holes.

States Push Internet Privacy Rules in Lieu of Federal Standards

A growing mosaic of state-level internet privacy proposals in lieu of a nationwide framework could provide new protections for consumers and additional question marks for businesses. Lawmakers in Virginia are nearing passage of data protection legislation in a rapid-fire legislative session slated to conclude in Feb. Washington state officials are considering compromises over enforcement of a potential privacy law for the third time. States including NY, MN, OK, and FL are pushing ahead with similar proposals of their own.

The Biden presidency: What it means for tech

President Joe Biden's presence in the Oval Office over the next four years will have a major influence on the tech sector, including infrastructure policy on broadband deployment and national security issues involving Chinese tech companies. The president and his team will also play a role in how to handle the growth and influence of social media giants.

World wide web inventor Tim Berners-Lee takes on Google, Facebook, Amazon to fix the internet

Sir Tim Berners-Lee and his business partner, John Bruce, have launched Inrupt, a company that allows consumers, rather than companies, to control their own data, to store it in pods, and to move it wherever they please. That means Facebook, Google or any other Big Tech company will no longer be able to extract an individual's photos, comments or purchase history without asking.

Facebook and Apple Are Beefing Over the Future of the Internet

Apple CEO Tim Cook gave a speech explaining his company’s upcoming privacy changes, which will ban apps from sharing iPhone user behavior with third parties unless users give explicit consent. And he made plain that these new policies were designed at least in part with Facebook in mind.

Sen Wyden's prospects for the 177th Congress: Privacy, Section 230, and Broadband

In an interview with Politico, Sen Ron Wyden (D-OR) describe his plans for the 117th Congress. Some highlights:

2020 Year in Review

Among the Department of Commerce's accomplishments in 2020: