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The Data Drop News for Friday, May 6, 2022

Updated: May 10, 2022

German Amazon workers strike over pay, data protection. Google now takes requests to remove personal info from search results. Meta Can Still Be Sued by Groups Under Data Rules, Says EU Court. Canada's Privacy watchdogs call for laws limiting police use of facial recognition. Plus the latest in PrivTech news!


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German Amazon workers strike over pay, data protection

The German trade union Verdi launched strikes at seven Amazon locations across the country, with up to 2,500 workers demanding higher wages and better protection of their personal data.


The trade union has been trying for almost 10 years to force Amazon to pay workers according to the going rates for retail and mail-order workers. Amazon has persisted in paying them as logistics services providers. In addition, workers are demanding information about personal data about them that has possibly been recorded by the company.


Google now takes requests to remove personal info from search results

Google has begun entertaining people's requests to remove search results containing their home addresses, phone numbers and email accounts, the latest shift in its stance between personal privacy and access to information.


"Research has told us there's a larger amount of personally identifiable information that users consider as sensitive," Michelle Chang, global policy lead for Google search, said in an exclusive interview. "They are increasingly unwilling to tolerate this content online." Until now, Google would only accept requests to remove webpages that shared contact info alongside some sort of threat or required payment for removal.


It also has stripped links to bank account and credit card numbers and medical records.


Meta Can Still Be Sued by Groups Under Data Rules, Says EU Court

Meta Platforms Inc. can still face lawsuits from consumer groups for possible violations of data protection rules, the European Union’s top court said.


The EU’s tough data protection rules that took effect in May 2018 do not prevent “national legislation which allow a consumer protection association to bring legal proceedings,” the EU Court of Justice ruled. The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, empowered data watchdogs to issue fines of as much as 4% of a company’s annual sales.


Canada's Privacy watchdogs call for laws limiting police use of facial recognition

Canada’s privacy commissioners are calling for clear laws putting in place limits on police use of facial recognition technology. Federal Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien told MPs the new law is needed “urgently.”


The law should explicitly specify for what purposes police can use facial recognition and ban other uses, he said during an appearance at the House of Commons ethics committee. “Authorized purposes should be compelling and proportionate to the very high risks of the technology,” he said. Therrien and his provincial and territorial counterparts said in a joint statement Monday that facial recognition is governed by a patchwork of laws that, for the most part, “do not specifically address different uses or risks posed by the technology.”


Data privacy bill wins final approval in Connecticut House

The House of Representatives in the US state of Connecticut has voted overwhelmingly for final passage of a data privacy bill that will put it among the growing ranks of states trying to fill a void created by congressional inaction.


The measure was cleared by the Senate on a unanimous vote which was a seemingly easy approval that came after nearly 2 years of intense negotiations with local and national business interests and consumer protection advocates. Senate Bill 6 will let consumers see which companies are collecting their data and opt out of the selling or sharing of that information. Consumers under 16 years old would have to opt in to data collection. “The data you can purchase is shocking,” said Rep. Michael D’Agostino, the co-chair of the General Law Committee and lead sponsor in the House.


The bill is a recognition of the ubiquity of data collection. Our phones and smart watches silently record our movements. Our purchases and internet and TV habits are logged.