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The Data Drop News for Friday, March 12, 2021

Updated: May 18

France issues big fines for cookies, Google changing third-party tracking, Amazon's struggle to keep track of customer data, Apple's newest privacy protection feature, plus this week's #DataFails!

France issues big fines for cookies

France is testing the GDPR's ability to restrict so-called "cookie walls" by fining Amazon and Google for their use of non-essential tracking cookies.


European law demands that users be clearly informed before such cookies are used. Google used a banner display that lacked specific information, while Amazon displayed a banner informing visitors that they automatically agreed to its use of cookies.


The French data protection agency says neither company's approach provides adequate opportunity for informed consent.


Google changing its third-party tracking

In another sign that regulations may be having an impact on digital service providers, Google has announced plans to replace third-party tracking cookies altogether.


But is regulatory compliance simply being used as an excuse to create a new walled garden and help tighten the tech giant's grip on the digital advertising market? One professor who specializes in tracking technologies says, " Google will come off as being progressive and ahead of privacy regulations to governments, and to advertisers, it is a call to jump ship from other networks to Google's own alternative framework."


Amazon can't forget

A recent Politico article shines light on just how difficult it is for large businesses to protect the thousands of data copies generated through traditional data integration.


In the article, a former Amazon information security employee states, " If you wanted to do a 'right to be forgotten', it would be next to impossible for Amazon to identify all of the places where your data resides within their system." Along with access control and portability, the right to be forgotten is a key component of major data privacy legislations like California's CCPA or Europe's GDPR.


Apple's new user privacy protection feature

Apple's next release will have a new feature to protect user privacy.


iOS 14.5 will introduce a safe browsing mode in Safari that will redirect all user website traffic through Apple-controlled proxy servers. This would prevent Google and other advertisers from learning the IP address of iPhone users, limiting the amount of tracking and targeted advertising they receive.

This week's data fails


No more nasal swabs?

A new, peer-reviewed study from Mount Sinai Hospital researchers found that the Apple Watch can effectively predict a positive COVID-19 diagnosis up to a week before current PCR-based nasal swabs.


Lightshot app saving your screenshots

If you've ever taken a screenshot through the app Lightshot, it's currently on their website for anyone to see. The app posts your screenshot with a unique URL that it intends for you to share but it provides no further privacy productions, so anyone who guesses the URL can see your image.


1st in data privacy, last note-taking

Europe's GDPR is one of the world's only data privacy laws, but it was recently revealed that the EU's lead data supervisor is still using Lotus Notes.

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