Maybe it’s trite, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true: The world is becoming a smaller and smaller place. On the one hand, our shrinking world has no more frontiers to explore, offers less room for mystery, and features less space to call your own. But on the other hand, a smaller world is also one that forces us to learn how to live with one another. That means being aware of and respecting boundaries — both physical and digital.
If you didn’t like your neighbors a hundred years ago, there was plenty of land to serve as a buffer against them. No one could really reach you, either, unless they marched up to your door. Today, even if you do find a rare patch of untamed wilderness to keep the busybodies away physically, they’re still right there digitally, announcing their presence and opinions and concerns in your inbox and news feeds.
So, our only recourse is to learn to be civil with one another. Living in a world where we sometimes can’t help but know what’s happening on the other side of the globe demands it. Unfortunately, it’s easy to overlook our collective efforts at learning to live in a smaller, more interconnected world, because it’s not always the most thrilling stuff.
This issue of Privacy Insider features a lot of news about those humdrum efforts at getting along with one’s neighbors in a small world; that is to say, legislation, frameworks, international agreements, and the like. It’s a good reminder that not only do these dry proceedings have a huge impact on the way we live our lives and interact with one another, but they’re also a collective attempt at being civil in a world where it’s hard to find a space — whether digital or physical — to call your own.
US House passes the Promoting Digital Privacy Technologies Act
The House of Representatives has passed a bill enabling federal agencies to assess and fund research into privacy-enhancing technologies. The bipartisan legislation would enable the Networking and Information Technology Research and Development Program, the National Institutes of Technology, and other agencies to “support merit-reviewed and competitively awarded research on privacy enhancing technologies” and to “accelerate the development, deployment, and adoption” of such technologies. Now, the bill heads to the Senate for further debate.
EU Council approves Data Governance Act
The EU Council approved a new law centered on providing a framework to increase business’s ability to access public sector data in order to develop new products and services. The Data Governance Act, or DGA, creates “a mechanism to enable the safe reuse of certain categories of public-sector data that are subject to the rights of others. This includes, for example, trade secrets, personal data and data protected by intellectual property rights.” Notably, the DGA framework enables a new business model — data intermediation services. Using the DGA as its legal basis, new digital platforms can provide secure environments where businesses can share their data without worrying about its misuse or the loss of their competitive advantage.
European Parliament expands Europol’s data collection powers
Members of the European Parliament voted to legalize the Europol police force’s right to process bulk data sets containing personal information — inclusive of individuals who have not been accused of any crime — as well as to conduct research into predictive policing technologies. Critics claim that the data collection “is excessive by any standard for a police authority” and that predictive policing is “a controversial method known to have a disproportionate effect on racialised and marginalised communities.”
Mastercard launches tech that lets you pay with your face or hand in stores
Mastercard is plotting new biometric payment methods in five Brazilian retail stores — if all goes well, they plan to release the technology globally later this year. Other businesses, such as Amazon, are working on biometric technology themselves. In fact, forecasts predict that 1.4 billion people will use facial technology to authenticate a payment by 2025.
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