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The Data Drop News for Friday, February 19, 2021

Updated: May 18, 2021

US proposed data privacy bill, Tesla's trade secrets stolen, Trump-appointed director resigns, and Baltimore's secret spy plane project

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US proposed data privacy bill

Data privacy remains in the spotlight, with congressional Democrats proposing a bill to protect individual privacy amid the growing use of pandemic-related technology.

The bill would set enforceable privacy and data security rights for health information, ensuring such data is used strictly for public health and is deleted once the health emergency is over. The bill requires regular reports on the impact of digital collection tools on civil rights, and prohibits the use of health data for discriminatory, unrelated, or intrusive purposes.

Tesla's trade secrets stolen

Electric automaker Tesla recently highlighted just how difficult it is to control data copies.

The company has filed charges against a software engineer for transferring more than 26,000 confidential documents to his personal drive during his first week at the company.

Only about 40 people had access to the trade secrets he's accused of stealing, and only 8 engineers could grant access to the files. But with these files copied, Tesla has no way of knowing whether they’ve already been shared or transferred someplace else.

Trump-appointed director resigns

The Trump-appointed director for the US Census Bureau has resigned amid allegations of rushing an incomplete data report about noncitizens.

Whistleblowers warned that the report would be "statistically indefensible" and could be "misinterpreted, misused, or otherwise tarnish the Bureau's reputation.”

Results from the 2020 census are delayed until March 6 at the earliest.

Baltimore's secret spy plane project

City officials in Baltimore, Maryland, have voted to end the city police department’s spy plane program which used airplanes and high-resolution cameras to monitor a 32-square-mile area of the city. The program was started in secret, with the police department using private funding in order to avoid public scrutiny.

Baltimore plans to keep 15 percent of the data gathered by the program for ongoing criminal investigations. A lawsuit filed by the ACLU is ongoing, though the city argues it should be thrown out since the program has ended.


The Data Drop News is a production of the Data Collaboration Alliance, a non-profit advancing data ownership and data-centric innovation through sponsored pilot projects and free learning. Learn more


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