Postings

Advocates tackle data-driven discrimination
Big Data has the potential to create racial and social inequalities, and make existing discrimination even worse. While civil rights protections have existed in brick-and-mortar commerce for decades, they are largely missing from the internet economy. Online services should not be permitted to use consumer data to discriminate against protected classes or deny them opportunities in commerce, housing, employment, or full participation in our democracy.

The time is now for comprehensive consumer data privacy legislation
Consumer and privacy organizations released a framework for comprehensive privacy protection and digital rights for members of the 116th Congress. In it, they stated that U.S. data privacy laws must be overhauled (without pre-empting state laws) and a new data privacy agency should be created to confront 21st century threats and address emerging concerns for digital customers.

Advocates set the bar for upcoming discussion on privacy legislation
34 civil rights, consumer, and privacy organizations join in releasing public interest principles for privacy legislation, because the public needs and deserves strong and comprehensive federal legislation to protect their privacy and afford meaningful redress. The set of principles provides the bare minimum privacy protections advocates want codified in any comprehensive data privacy bill Congress considers.

Strong, meaningful, and comprehensive privacy principles are needed to protect consumers
In comments submitted to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), advocates offered suggested improvements to NTIA’s data privacy policy recommendations for the Trump Administration. The current proposal, with its risk-management rather than rights-based approach, does not provide an acceptable roadmap for the kind of privacy protection that Americans need.

If companies can protect user data in Europe, they can protect it everywhere
Consumer Action joined 27 groups in calling on some of the world’s largest companies – including Facebook, Google and Amazon, as well as digital advertisers like Nestle, Walmart and JPMorgan Chase – to use Europe’s impending General Data Protection Regulation regime as a baseline standard worldwide for all of their services, including in the U.S.

Facebook’s facial recognition violates consumers’ privacy
Consumer Action joined the Electronic Privacy Information Center and other consumer and privacy advocates in filing a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission regarding Facebook’s use of facial recognition software. The Facebook feature identifies people uploaded in users’ photos by suggesting the names of “friends” it recognizes. This practice of scanning and collecting biometric facial matches is deceptive and ignores the explicit privacy preferences of many Facebook users.

Personal data of 50M Facebook users wrongly harvested for use in 2016 election
Consumer and privacy advocates expressed outrage at the news that Facebook shared the personal user information of 50 million with a data-mining firm that later when on to work for President Trump’s 2016 campaign. Consumer Action joined privacy and consumer advocates in a March 20 letter urging the Federal Trade Commission to investigate whether the social media giant may have violated a landmark privacy consent decree from 2011, stating that it would not change access to Facebook users’ data without users’ consent.

Bill would damage credit scores of million of consumers
Consumer Action joined the National Consumer Law Center and other organizations in opposition to HR 435—legislation that would reduce consumers’ control over their own data by preempting state and federal privacy protections, damage the credit scores of millions of consumers with a disproportionate impact on African Americans, and conflict with long-standing state utility regulatory consumer protections.

Who, or what, is spying on you at home?
Consumer Action and a coalition of leading consumer groups have asked the Consumer Product Safety Commission to recall the Google Home Mini "smart speaker." The touchpad on the Google device is permanently set to "on" so that it records all conversations without a consumer's knowledge or consent.

Advocates call on Congress do more for victims of Equifax breach
The Equifax data breach is prompting advocates to call on Congress for better protection of consumers' sensitive financial information. Not only should free credit freeze legislation be implemented immediately, but Congress should also resist the financial and banking industries attempts to pass legislation that preempts stronger state laws in matters that relate to consumers’ data security and privacy.

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