The Data Drop News for Thursday, April 1, 2021

Facebook blocking ad watchdogs, Advertisers fight Florida privacy bill, CPPA members announced, Utah social media anti-censorship bill, plus: this week's Drop Shots!


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Facebook blocks ad watchdogs

Is it possible that Facebook employs a double standard when it comes to data privacy?


According to the Protocol blog, Facebook has denied screen-scraping permission to Ad Observer, part of the Online Political Transparency Project at New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering. The project has been established to improve awareness and accountability around the volume and targeting of ads on Facebook, particularly political ads. So basically, advertisers can scrape your data, but advertising watchdogs cannot scrape advertisers' data.


SavvyShares pays users to track their digital activity

According to an SEC filing, the survey company SavvyShares is promising to give users shares in the company and potential dividend payments in exchange for allowing the company to track their digital activity.


This news hints at potential problems that can arise if data ownership is treated as property law, instead of a human right. In other words, your data will go to the highest bidder... which won't be very high.


Advertisers against Florida privacy protection bill

In Florida, a coalition of advertisers are petitioning the state legislature to fight against recently proposed privacy protections. Their stated mission is "To help ensure Floridians can continue to reap the benefits of a robust ad-supported online ecosystem..." which is a pretty clear sign they're looking out for the benefit of corporations, not people.


CPPA members announced

California has named the five members of its new Privacy Protection Agency, which will begin enforcing the state’s Consumer Privacy Act later this year.


Although the agency's enforcement authority does not become effective until July 2023, it will begin to take over data protection rulemaking from the California Attorney General in July of this year.


Utah's social media anti-censorship bill

Meanwhile, in Utah, representatives have introduced a bill that would hold social media platforms responsible for unfairly applying moderation rules. The proposal would require social media companies to create specific lists of banned content and provide explanations within a 24-hour window whenever a comment, video, or other post is removed or hidden. It could impose fines up to $1,000 per violation.


The bill is meant to address allegations that social media companies are unfairly suppressing or censoring right-wing political content.

This week's Drop Shots

Your quickfire news items from the world of data privacy


Surveillance towers along Vermont - Quebec border

Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan said he worries about the privacy implications of a series of surveillance towers federal officials are hoping to build along the state’s border with Quebec. No word on how residents on the other side of the border feel about them.


Google lawsuit continues

Bloomberg has reported that a Federal judge has refused Google’s motion to dismiss a data privacy lawsuit. The ongoing suit alleges that Google continues to track users in Chrome when they use incognito mode, and is asking for as much as $2 billion in damages.


EU issues digital vaccine certificates

On March 17th, the EU announced its plan to begin issuing digital vaccine certifications, joining China, Israel, and Bahrain in the use of so-called vaccine passports.


Texas selling vehicle information to advertisers

The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles made more than $3 million in 2019 by selling drivers’ personal information to advertisers, law enforcement agencies, and private investigators. The data included names, addresses, phone numbers, emails, and vehicle information.

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