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The Data Drop News for Friday, May 14, 2021

Germany bans Facebook from handling WhatsApp data. Democrats urge Facebook to reverse. WhatsApp privacy update. China could soon have stronger privacy laws than the U.S. Microsoft to store European cloud data in EU. Florida consumer data privacy bill in limbo. Plus, this week's Drop Shots!

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Germany bans Facebook from handling WhatsApp data

Germany has banned Facebook from using data gathered from WhatsApp users. The move comes after recent updates to WhatsApp’s privacy terms which German authorities believe to be illegal.

Johannes Caspar, head of the Data Protection Authority in Hamburg said: “This order seeks to secure the rights and freedoms of the many millions of users who give their consent to the terms of use throughout Germany.” WhatsApp is used by almost 60 million users in Germany.

Democrats urge Facebook to reverse WhatsApp privacy update

American lawmakers have also taken notice of WhatsApp's privacy policy, with Democrats urging Facebook to reverse the recent update.

The key concern the lawmakers highlighted is the fact that “this policy may not provide an option to opt out.”

China could soon have stronger privacy laws than the U.S.

The Chinese government is often caught with is fingers in the cookie jar of personal data, but a new law might change that.

China’s "Personal Information Protection Law" is expected to pass by the end of the year, and promises to bring GDPR-style privacy protections to internet users in China.

This news means that it’s possible, in fact likely, that China will soon have a more comprehensive national data privacy law than either the US or Canada.

Microsoft to store European cloud data in EU

Microsoft has announced that it will now store all of its European cloud data on servers based in the EU, so their European customers don't have to worry about their data leaving the protection of the GDPR.

As the World moves inevitably towards increased rights for data owners, this move hints at the complexity that hosting providers will face for managing data across jurisdictions.

Florida consumer data privacy bill in limbo

Florida's state House and Senate have both passed versions the state's Consumer Data Privacy Bill, but were unable to reconcile differences between their versions before the legislature adjourned.

One of the sticking points? Just how much protection the finalized law would actually grant to consumers. Florida's law was expected to be much more friendly to businesses than laws in California, Virginia, and the European Union.

Consumer privacy concerns

A new survey of online shopping habits by AI company revealed that 40% of online shoppers use the guest checkout option due to concerns about their personal data privacy.

Angel Maldonado, Empathy's CEO, said, “With the global pandemic forcing the majority of consumers to shop online, there has been a surge in demand for privacy and security, and a clear increase in fears over data security."

Is your robot vac spying on you?

Robot vacuums are increasingly common appliances in our homes, and the amount of data they collect may surprise you.

Like any smart device, these vacuums generate metadata about their usage, such as when they run and for how long. But many advanced models also create floor maps as they clean, and some even have cameras to help them navigate around obstacles.

While manufacturers are quick to point out the precautions they take with this data, many owners never consider just how much their little robot pals know about their home."


This week's Drop Shots

Your quickfire news items from the world of data privacy

Free fertility apps are tracking users without consent

New research shows that the free versions of many most popular fertility tracking apps are tracking users and collecting sensitive user data without consent. Of the 30 apps tested, 12 offered no privacy-related information at all and the other 18 gave users no choice but to accept all terms or close the app entirely.

VPN use on the rise

An online coupon company reports that searches for VPN-related deals have risen sharply over the past year, and that 1 in 3 Americans now uses a VPN to help protect their data privacy.

Law firms building A.I. expertise

In a sign that AI is the next major battleground for personal data privacy, major law firms in the US are building up their expertise and building special practices around artificial intelligence.

The hiring spree is being driven in part by the FTC’s recent signal that it plans to crack down on companies whose AI systems discriminate that use deceptive practices to either train or market AI software.

Complex passwords not necessarily safer

Researchers from James Cook University found users were far more likely to engage in unsafe cybersecurity behavior if forced to keep creating complex passwords by overzealous IT managers. The academics say that short, memorable phrases, changed often, should replace random strings of characters as our idea of a "strong password."

How Much Private Information Was Gathered From Your Phone?

And finally, a new study by Norton LifeLock and Boston University examines just how much your phone knows about you, and it's way more than you think (even if you think it's a lot).


The Data Drop News is a production of the Data Collaboration Alliance, a nonprofit working to advance data ownership through pilot projects in sustainability, healthcare, education, and social inclusion. We also offer free training in the Data Collaboration methodology. Listen to the Data Drop on our website or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts.


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