Postings

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.

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.

Enough with the sneaky and harmful policy riders
Appropriations bills continue to be misused to undermine essential consumer and environmental safeguards through poisonous policy riders. Enough is enough! Advocates are asking Congress to oppose any FY 2018 bills that contain controversial riders regarding unpopular and dangerous initiatives that would otherwise never pass on their own.

Caller ID authentication provides protection against illegal and unwanted calls
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) acknowledges that consumers get an unacceptably high volume of calls that can annoy or defraud. One particularly disturbing category is spoofed robocalls where the caller ID is a fake, hiding the caller's true identity. Consumer advocates applaud the FCC’s rollout of proposed new rules that aim to stop spoof calls and believe implementing caller ID authentication will aid the agency's attempt to curb robocall scams.

Consumer groups call on House to oppose pyramid scheme promotion amendment
A broad coalition of consumer advocacy organizations is calling on the House of Representatives to oppose efforts to weaken the Federal Trade Commission’s ability to protect consumers from fraudulent pyramid schemes. An amendment offered by Congressman John Moolenaar (R-MI) was added to the House Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill, which would eliminate long-standing requirements that direct selling companies establish a viable retail business instead of relying on a churning base of new recruits.

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