Today’s Privacy Insider features an introduction written by Jonathan Grant, our Chief Financial Officer. Jonathan reminisces about the early days of Facebook, before public awareness of the social media giant’s privacy practices had spread. Related, one of our news articles today focuses on the fallout of Facebook’s role in the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal.
Back in my sophomore year in college, Facebook was still known as The Facebook, and uploading photos to share on social media was still novel. Over the next three years of my college career, I had created a digital photo album consisting of lifelong memories with friends. Fortunately for me, by the time I was set to head out into the “real world,” Facebook had created privacy settings so you could control who could see what on your profile.
(Don’t worry Mom, there wasn’t anything bad.)
That was when I first realized that I was leaving a digital footprint that enabled others to form a first impression of me, without us ever having met or had a conversation first.
My feelings about the state of privacy on Facebook and the web have had an interesting evolution since then. At first, I felt angry. The epiphany that I was the “product” felt icky. However, I didn’t want to be disconnected from my friends. My anger quickly turned into helplessness and apathy. If I wanted to use these services where I was the product, sharing my information was the price I had to pay. Plus, who really cared about where I was checking into or what posts I was liking?
Lucky for all of us, some didn’t become apathetic. They continued to push for rights in a new digital world, enabling consumers to better understand what they were giving up for the right to use a “free” product. As the world continues to change and more data is collected, knowing when you are making a first impression is something worth fighting for.
DC AG sues Meta CEO Zuckerberg over Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal
District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine is suing Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg over his alleged role in the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal. Racine asserts that “Mr. Zuckerberg was personally involved in Facebook’s failure to protect the privacy and data of its users leading directly to the Cambridge Analytica incident,” and that “Mr. Zuckerberg’s policies enabled a multi-year effort to mislead users about the extent of Facebook's wrongful conduct.”
“This lawsuit is not only warranted,” continued Racine, “but necessary, and sends a message that corporate leaders, including CEOs, will be held accountable for their actions.”
ICO fines facial recognition database company Clearview AI Inc more than £7.5m
After collecting more than 20 billion images of people’s faces from online sources without their consent, Clearview AI has been fined £7,552,800 by the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). Furthermore, the company has been ordered to stop obtaining and using the personal data of UK residents and to delete their data from its systems.
“People expect that their personal information will be respected,” said John Edwards, UK Information Commissioner, “regardless of where in the world their data is being used. That is why global companies need international enforcement. Working with colleagues around the world helped us take this action and protect people from such intrusive activity.”
NOYB open letter on the new EU – US data deal
The “‘My Privacy is None of your Business” organization — founded by privacy lawyer and activist Max Schrems — released an open letter stating its position on the Trans-Atlantic Data Privacy Framework. The proposed EU/US data transfer framework would take the place of its predecessors, the Safe Harbor and Privacy Shield 1.0, both of which were invalidated by the CJEU.
The letter discusses several concerns the organization has regarding the new framework, stating that the framework risks “sharing the same fate” as the Safe Harbor and Privacy Shield 1.0 “unless substantive (legislative) reforms are conducted in the United States.”
FTC charges Twitter with deceptively using account security data to sell targeted ads
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has asserted that Twitter violated a 2011 FTC order explicitly prohibiting the company from misrepresenting its privacy and security practices. Twitter asked users for their phone numbers and email addresses to ostensibly protect their accounts; however, the organization also allowed advertisers to use this data to target users. As a result, the FTC will order Twitter to pay a $150 million penalty and will ban the firm from profiting from its deceptively collected data.
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