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The Data Drop News for Friday, May 28, 2021

Canada's Proposed Privacy Bill Sure to Disappoint. China Getting Serious About Personal Data Privacy? DuckDuckGo and Others Reject FLoC. Shriners Hospitals for Children Team Up with Georgia Institute of Technology. Recording Your Conversations isn't the Worst Part of Clubhouse. Plus, this week's Drop Shots!

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Canada's Proposed Privacy Bill Sure to Disappoint

In Canada, privacy experts say the proposed Bill C-11 is far from adequate when it comes to providing privacy protections.

David Fraser, a lawyer at McInnes Cooper who advises Fortune-100 companies on technology and privacy laws, acknowledges that Bill C-11 is a compromise, but is concerned the bill would make the privacy commissioner "judge, jury and executioner."

Fraser added, "There's something in there to disappoint everybody"

China Getting Serious About Personal Data Privacy?

Is China trying to clean up their record on personal data privacy?

The Chinese government recently announced that it has a national data protection law in the works, and that many of the country’s most popular apps are illegally obtaining data without users’ consent, and collecting more information than they need.

The announcement named over 80 apps, and has given the operators 15 days to comply with data privacy standards or face legal consequences.

DuckDuckGo and Others Reject FLoC

We recently reported that privacy-first web browsers were likely to stand against Google's new privacy platform, and now it's now official: Browser companies from across the board are joining DuckDuckGo in a rejection of Google’s Federated Learning of Cohorts API, also known as FLoC.

Peter Dolanjski, director of product at DuckDuckGo, says that “these proposals to replace some of the underlying tracking technologies with other tracking technologies – even though it might be slightly more private in the way in which they operate – are going to lead back to the same scenario that we’re in today, because there’s so much incentive in the ecosystem for data to be collected.”

New Google Privacy Controls

Along with their FLoC proposal, Google is also taking steps to improve data privacy on their Chrome browser and Android devices.

The new controls include enabling people to quickly delete the last 15 minutes of their search history, as well as password-protection for the photo folders for Android devices.

Google will also keep track of which apps have access to the camera, microphone, and location services.

Shriners Hospitals for Children Team Up with Georgia Institute of Technology

The Georgia Institute of Technology and Shriners Hospitals for Children are expanding on a data collaboration project launched last year.

The new initiative will encompass the fields of precision medicine and big data analysis, with a goal of creating state-of-the-art clinical research to create next-generation medical tools and techniques for improving the lives of children treated at Shriners Hospitals.

Report Companies That Use Dark Patterns

Businesses have gotten very good at analyzing and exploiting online behavior patterns. According to Consumer Reports, these so-called Dark Patterns are defined as “design tactics used in websites and apps to persuade you into doing things you probably would not do otherwise.”

This includes tricks like requiring a phone number to create an account, making it difficult to find ways to close pop-up windows, or even silently charging your card when a free trial is over.

You’ve probably seen some of these techniques, and now you can report them to the Consumer Reports Dark Patterns Tip Line.

Recording Your Conversations isn't the Worst Part of Clubhouse

The audio chatroom app Clubhouse has been in the news lately for its shaky privacy policies, and a new article on provides a comprehensive look at just what makes this popular app such a data nightmare.

A quick rundown: it requires you to share your contacts in order to create an account, it records all of your conversations and doesn't expressly say what it does with them, you're required to give Clubhouse permission to share your data in order to use the app, and you can't delete your account without getting in touch with customer service. And of course, the app is tracking exactly how you use it, with cookies, tracking pixels, and other technologies.


This week's Drop Shots

Your quickfire news items from the world of data privacy

QR Code Provider Violates Spam Laws

In the UK, a company who provided QR codes for businesses to enforce contact tracing rules has been fined for allegedly sending more than 80,000 nuisance emails.

New York Privacy Bill Reintroduced

In New York, State Senator Kevin Thomas has reintroduced the New York Privacy Act before the New York Senate. The bill had been set aside during 2019 so the legislature could focus on bills related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Facebook Framing Data Scraping as "Normal"

An internal email accidentally leaked by Facebook has revealed plans to frame a recent data scraping incident as a "broad industry issue," hinting at how the company plans to approach its relationship with user data in the future.

Using Data to Fight COVID

McGill University and Genome Canada have launched a collaborative data platform for tracking and monitoring COVID-19 variants, giving researchers an important weapon in the battle against the disease.

Misconfigured Cloud Servers Exposed 100+ Million Users' Data

Researchers have found that the personal data of over 100-million Android users have been exposed due to misconfigured cloud services across various apps, including some of the most popular downloads.


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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