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California Focus: Prop. 24 would toughen privacy protections

california focus: prop. 24 would toughen privacy protections

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On its surface, few California propositions have ever been as confusing as this fall’s Proposition 24, which aims to toughen a 2018 state law allowing consumers to regulate how much of their privacy Internet companies like Facebook and Google should be allowed to violate.To fully understand the stakes, it’s helpful to watch the Netflix documentary “The Social Dilemma,” which shows how social media companies change people’s behavior by using information they collect on what emails folks open, which websites they visit, where people live and travel and much more.
For each bit of such information these companies collect and sell, they get a couple of pennies per buyer, which does not sound like much, but adds up to billions of dollars every year.
If you wonder why American political opinion is so deeply divided, former tech executives including the chief designer of Facebook’s “Like” function describe in the documentary how people who do a Google search in various localities often get very different information than folks who live elsewhere. The same for people who donate to one party and those who donate to another.
In each case, prior opinions and preferences are reinforced, so that even when …

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This Week in Rideshare: Race, Privacy, and Food – Legal Reader

this week in rideshare: race, privacy, and food – legal reader

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Drivers go after Uber, new features on the app, and grocery service comes to Manhattan. LegalRideshare breaks it down.

This Week in Rideshare covers race, privacy, and food. Let’s get going!
MONDAY 10/26/20
A new lawsuit aimed at Uber claims they fire drivers based on a racially-biased system. NPR reported:

“Uber has long known that relying on a system that depends on passenger evaluation of drivers is discriminatory,” wrote the driver’s attorney, Shannon Liss-Riordan, in the federal lawsuit, which was filed in San Francisco and is seeking class-action status. The suit claims Uber fires drivers if their average ratings drop too low.

TUESDAY 10/27/20
In an effort to make rides safer, Uber has rolled out some new privacy features. VentureBeat explains:

Uber’s View as Driver feature allows riders to see what personal information drivers can access. Before, during, and after the ride, riders can see what personal details their driver receives — including their first name, photo, and pickup and drop-off location. Riders are also able to confirm that drivers can’t see certain private information — including their last name, phone number, profile photo, and the rating they give their driver. The feature will be available as a prompt on …

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Google Algorithm Biased Against California Privacy Initiative Prop 24; Consumer Watchdog Calls For Investigation And Hearings

google algorithm biased against california privacy initiative prop 24; consumer watchdog calls for investigation and hearings

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LOS ANGELES, Oct. 30, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Consumer Watchdog today called for the Senate Elections Committee to investigate why a Google search for Prop 24 was, until last night, the only one of 12 ballot initiatives where the result for the nonpartisan Secretary of State reflected the “Con” argument’s negative propaganda.
The Secretary of State withdrew the “snippets” late Thursday that allowed Google’s algorithm to produce the biased search result. Now, the search page, which has become the new unofficial voter content guide, has little information about the official state voter guide for each measure.
“Was Google trying to quietly tip the scale against Prop 24’s online privacy regulations by manipulating its search results to make it appear that the Secretary of State’s Official Position was opposed to the ballot measure?” Consumer Watchdog’s leaders Jamie Court and Carmen Balber wrote to Senate Elections Committee Chair Tom Umberg in a letter calling for hearings.
“Google search has increasingly become the most used source for voters and in the case of Prop 24 it appears to have cooked the result against the privacy measure it most fears.”
Read the letter here: https://www.consumerwatchdog.org/sites/default/files/2020-10/LtrUmbergGoogle10-30-20.pdf
“It would be an …

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Apple’s HomeKit Secure Video Leverages iCloud Storage and Preserves Privacy – TidBITS

apple’s homekit secure video leverages icloud storage and preserves privacy – tidbits

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Streaming your home security camera’s video to a company’s cloud storage may feel fraught. Even if you trust the company, and it properly encrypts video both in transit and at rest, the encryption keys are almost always controlled by the firm, not by you. That means employees of the company could gain access. That might be fine—you trust them, in this scenario. But then consider: anyone who obtains those keys illegitimately—a disgruntled employee, a cracker, an overweening government agency, and so on—can also see your video. They may be able to log in from anywhere in the world to view stored footage and watch your live feed, too.
Let’s also be frank. Even with everything managed perfectly, who among us really wants Amazon (Ring), Google (Home), or smaller but still massive consumer electronics firms to have streaming video access to the insides of or peering out from our houses? It just feels wrong. I try to keep the so-called smart stuff out of my house, and my wife is an even bigger resistor. (We use Siri because we more or less trust Apple’s privacy stance so far, even after the company’s misleading …

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New “What’s My Vote Worth” Calculator Reveals Importance of Data Privacy to Combat Targeted Political Ads

new “what’s my vote worth” calculator reveals importance of data privacy to combat targeted political ads

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BOSTON, Oct. 30, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Amid the most expensive election cycle in U.S. history, Abine’s DeleteMe division today launched its new “What’s My Vote Worth” Online Calculator to show citizens the dollar value of their vote to political advertisers.
Using DeleteMe’s simple online calculator, citizens can quickly enter anonymous information about themselves – their state, party affiliation, voter history, age, education, racial identity, and online activity level – and within seconds see a projected dollar-estimate of how much was spent on advertising to win their vote, highlighting how personal information is used to discriminate between different groups of people during the election process.
The 2020 campaign season is projected to see almost $7 Billion in total ad spend. Notably, digital ad spend is growing the fastest, having tripled in the last 2 years to over 20% of total election ad dollars.
According to DeleteMe’s analysis, the explosion in digital spend is due to rapidly advancing ad technology and an abundance of private voter data, that lets advertisers target narrow groups of voters with alarming precision.
“I think most voters sense that political advertising is out of control, but would be shocked by the differences in how these ad dollars are spent across different groups,” …

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CCPA Litigation Update: How the CCPA (and other Privacy Risks) Raise the Risk of Potential Shareholder Claims | Ad Law Access

ccpa litigation update: how the ccpa (and other privacy risks) raise the risk of potential shareholder claims | ad law access

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California became the first U.S. state with a comprehensive consumer privacy law when the California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”) became operative on January 1, 2020. The CCPA provides for broad privacy rights for residents of California and imposes data protection obligations on companies doing business in California that meet certain criteria.  For further background on the CCPA, see our prior CCPA blog posts here.
Privacy Risks Trigger Public Disclosure
While many businesses continue to work on their CCPA privacy compliance strategies and risk mitigation measures, those subject to the law also should consider whether their data practices prompt any material disclosures. Item 105 of Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) Regulation S-K requires public companies to disclose the most significant factors that make investing in their securities speculative or risky.
The SEC published a proposed rule for public comment in the Federal Register on August 23, 2019, that sets forth amendments to modernize the description of business, legal proceedings, and risk factor disclosures that registrants are required to make pursuant to Regulation S-K.  In a public comment to the proposed rule, the World Privacy Forum advised the SEC that the privacy and security risks and obligations that companies face today require that there be more …

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Canada mall operator cited for consumer privacy violations, pulls facial recognition cameras

canada mall operator cited for consumer privacy violations, pulls facial recognition cameras

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Image courtesy of iStock.Oct. 30, 2020Cadillac Fairview in Toronto — one of North America’s largest commercial real estate companies — has removed the embedded cameras inside its digital information kiosks after a government investigation found the company used facial recognition without customer knowledge, according to a press release from the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. The company operated the kiosks at 12 shopping malls across Canada.The goal, the company said, was to analyze the age and gender of shoppers and not to identify individuals. Cadillac Fairview also asserted that shoppers were made aware of the activity via decals it had placed on shopping mall entry doors that referred to their privacy policy — a measure the commissioners determined was insufficient.Cadillac Fairview also asserted it was not collecting personal information, since the images taken by camera were briefly analyzed and deleted. However, the commissioners found that Cadillac Fairview did collect personal information, and contravened privacy laws by failing to obtain meaningful consent as they collected the 5 million images with inconspicuous cameras. Cadillac Fairview also used video analytics to collect and analyze sensitive biometric information of customers.The federal, Alberta and British Columbia Privacy Commissioner investigation also found that:Facial recognition software …

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Privacy-focused social network True leaves user data exposed online

privacy-focused social network true leaves user data exposed online

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Privacy-focused social network True has suffered a serious data breach after a server containing private user data was left exposed online.Launched in 2017, the company is founded on a commitment to user privacy and promises never to sell or share user data, but a security snafu appears to have seen its pledge broken.According to security firm SpiderSilk, a configuration error meant that anyone could read and browse the database, which was not protected by a password nor any form of encryption.The server is said to have contained information such as user email addresses, phone numbers, private messages and location data, but also account access tokens that could be used to hijack user accounts.True data breachA number of tests conducted by SpiderSilk showed that the data exposed online could be used to seize control of accounts and post messages to the victim’s feed, but also that True’s data retention claims may not hold water.According to the social network, deleting an account “will immediately remove all of your content from our servers”, but a test conducted in conjunction with TechCrunch revealed that this was not the case.Data attached to a dummy account – including private …

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True, the privacy-centric social network, has its user data exposed in leak

true, the privacy-centric social network, has its user data exposed in leak

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Data security is one of the most important aspects of any social network. Without it, personal data like names, phone numbers and email addresses can easily leak online. And when this data leaks, you can bet scammers and hackers will make the most of it.If you’ve ever wondered how all these spam emails are reaching your inbox, it’s because of data leaks and hacks. Once data gets out, hackers upload it to Dark Web marketplaces for anyone to buy and use. Tap or click here to see a website that will show you if your data is up for grabs.And now, a social network that emphasized security and privacy is under fire for leaking sensitive information from hundreds of thousands of users. This data was left unprotected — with no password required to access it — and even includes content from private messages. If you used this site, change your password now!True, the privacy-centric social network, isn’t all that private anymoreWhen it first launched back in 2017, True billed itself as a social network that “protects your privacy.” But now, three years later, not a single part of it is private thanks to a massive data leak …

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Winning Consumers’ Trust With Data Privacy | PYMNTS.com

winning consumers’ trust with data privacy | pymnts.com

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Posted on October 30, 2020 More consumers are turning to digital channels to make daily purchases as the pandemic continues. Emerging data privacy and open banking rules meant to regulate these digital transactions are thus being put to the test as consumers familiarize themselves with — and question — the standards intended to keep their personal data safe. Regulations governing the sharing of medical information appear to be of primary importance for consumers, with 70 percent of Americans noting that they would switch healthcare providers if they discovered that their data was inadequately protected. Many are also questioning how merchants and retailers are interacting with their data. Regulators as well as retailers are therefore confronting these queries, especially as changing data privacy opinions begin to influence how and where consumers are spending their time and their money.In the latest Merchants Guide To Navigating Global Payments Regulations, PYMNTS analyzes how the pandemic is affecting consumers’ data privacy and security perceptions and opinions worldwide. The Tracker also examines how regulators are analyzing these changes and what they mean for merchants looking to keep their increasingly digital consumer bases engaged, trusting and transacting. Around The Data Protection World Data privacy is gaining more attention from consumers in …

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