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Hello all, and happy Thursday!  

As it happens, many of the stories in this week’s newsletter share a common theme: research.  

It’s easy to think that data privacy solely has to do with governments crafting regulations, consumers suffering rights violations, and businesses striving for compliance (or not), but academic research plays an important role. 

Without researchers to study the dynamics of data privacy in the wild, regulation and compliance can only be based on feelings and assumptions. Research helps determine the actual state of compliance with existing regulations, as well as new issues that ought to be solved. 

Consider this week’s story on Duke University researchers who posed as foreign actors seeking to buy U.S. military servicemembers’ personal information from data brokers. They succeeded easily, even when they were quite obviously behaving as foreign agents. In recent times, data privacy regulation that targets data brokers has become popular, and research like this underscores the importance of such proposals and bolsters their case.  

So, dive deep into this week’s collection of research reports to find out where data privacy is today, and where it may be going! 




Top Privacy Stories of the Week

Cookies Banners and Beyond: How to Avoid Common Mistakes 

In this article, legal firm Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP provides seven tips to avoid common cookie banner and consent management errors. 

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Most Websites Do Not Publish Privacy Policies, Researchers Say 

Penn State researchers crawled millions of websites and found that only one-third of online organizations made their privacy policies available for review. Furthermore, there was a 2% to 3% chance that a website’s privacy policy link was broken. And 5% of the links that did work led to a page that contained irrelevant information, such as placeholder text or documents in a language that didn’t match the website’s landing page. 

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The New Era of Social Media Looks as Bad for Privacy as the Last One 

According to a new report by Free Press, a nonprofit media watchdog organization, X’s new competitors have an equally maximalist approach to data processing as previous social media platforms. The report examined Bluesky, Mastodon, and Meta’s Threads. The report found that Mastodon offered the most protection, but was far from perfect. 

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Researchers Posed as Foreign Actors, and Data Brokers Sold Them Information On Military Servicemembers Anyway 

Researchers at Duke University released a study on Monday tracking what measures data brokers have in place to prevent unidentified or potentially malign actors from buying personal data on members of the military. With little-or-no vetting, several data brokers transferred the requested data to the researchers at a cost between 12 to 32 cents per record. 

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Pew Research Report: How Americans View Data Privacy 

The Pew Research Center recently released a report covering changes in how Americans view data privacy. Among the findings, researchers discovered that Americans as a whole, but especially Republicans, have grown more concerned about how the government uses their data; the general public increasingly says they don’t understand what companies are doing with their data; and most individuals believe they have little to no control over what companies or the government do with their data.  

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EFF: Article 45 Will Roll Back Web Security by 12 Years 

The Electronic Frontier Foundation breaks down the EU’s latest regulation, eIDAS 2.0, and explains why its Article 45 would enable governments to spy on encrypted traffic. 

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Osano Blog: What is Universal Consent Management? 

Years after the passage of the GDPR, most organizations are familiar with cookie consent. But in fact, there are many different ways an organization can collect and process an individual’s personal information. Universal consent management is all about how to manage consent across the full spectrum of data trackers. In this blog, we break down all the fundamentals. 

Read more 

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