sunny.png
Monday May 20th, 2019 8:57PM

Battle lines forming ahead of a looming US privacy law fight

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

Consumer advocates and the data-hungry technology industry are drawing early battle lines in advance of an expected fight this year over what kind of federal privacy law the U.S. should have.

On Thursday, more than a dozen privacy organizations unveiled a plan that would create a new federal data-protection agency focused on regulating the way businesses and other organizations collect and make use of personal data, even if aggregated or anonymized. The proposal would sideline the Federal Trade Commission, which has limited powers and a mixed record of holding companies to account for privacy problems.

On the other side, a think tank backed by Google, Amazon, Microsoft and other major tech companies proposed changes that would still give the industry broad authority to collect and use customer data. The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation called for national legislation that would repeal and replace existing privacy laws with a "common set of protections" intended to encourage innovation while also quashing tougher state laws.

Unlike many industrialized nations, the U.S. has no overarching national law governing data collection and privacy. Instead, it has a patchwork of federal laws that protect specific types of data, such as consumer health and financial information and the personal data generated by younger children.

States have also started to pass their own tougher restrictions. A California measure set to take effect next year, for instance, will let consumers request the data collected from them and to opt out of future collection.

Calls for a national privacy law gained force after Facebook's Cambridge Analytica scandal last year, in which the social media giant was forced to admit that onetime political consultants for the 2016 Trump campaign had improperly accessed the personal information of as many as 87 million users .

Continuing revelations of data missteps at Facebook and other big tech companies have bolstered a U.S. reform movement. Its advocates take heart from recent developments in Europe, which last year enacted sweeping privacy regulations that, among other things, require companies to obtain permission before collecting most data. Several U.S. senators — including Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, Brian Schatz, a Hawaii Democrat, and Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican — have already introduced draft privacy legislation.

"Privacy advocates are fed up with the FTC and with Washington failing to reign in the immense power the big data giants hold," said Jeffrey Chester, the executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, which helped author the reform proposal.

Their proposal would set limits on what data companies can collect and would require firms to consider correcting or deleting personal data upon request. It would also prevent companies from giving customer data to the government unless criminal investigations necessitated it.

By contrast, the ITIF report calls for a "grand bargain" that would accept a national privacy law long opposed by industry. In the foundation's proposal, however, this law would establish "baseline" privacy protections across all industries — and would prevent states from enacting stronger measures.

"A lot of privacy activists are entrenched in creating ever more complicated rules," Daniel Castro, a co-author of the ITIF report's, said by email. "The only way to simplify these rules is to rewrite them."

Privacy experts say the baseline protections in the ITIF proposal still leave consumers at the mercy of big corporations. For instance, its "limited" consumer protections would require individuals to track the companies that collect their data in order to request access or corrections, rather than shifting that burden to companies themselves, said Eric Null, senior policy counsel at the New America think tank's Open Technology Institute.

The ITIF proposal would also prevent individual lawsuits against companies accused of misrepresenting or misusing their data, primarily to shield corporations from legal risk. Instead, only government would be empowered to protect individual rights. "A federal privacy law should include the power of a private individual to bring legal action," said Adam Schwartz, a lawyer with the Electronic Freedom Foundation, a digital-rights advocacy group.

ITIF's plan could potentially start a conversation in Congress over repealing existing federal privacy laws, Null said, but several Democratic lawmakers strongly oppose that. "We should build upon — not dismantle — existing safeguards," said Sen. Ed Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, in an emailed statement from his office.

Chris Hoofnagle, another privacy researcher at the University of California at Berkeley, called the ITIF offer "laughable," noting that it falls short of the voluntary privacy commitments companies such as Google, Microsoft and Amazon have already made.

___

Lerman reported from Seattle; Arbel reported from New York

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Business, AP Business - Consumer News, AP Technology News
© Copyright 2019 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
2020 Democrats face a choice: Fight Trump or ignore him?
As the Democratic primary gets underway, Democrats must decide how _ and whether _ to respond to Trump's pugnacious and insensitive attacks on his political opponents
12:35AM ( 11 minutes ago )
Battle lines forming ahead of a looming US privacy law fight
Battle lines are forming ahead of a looming fight over a US privacy law
12:19AM ( 27 minutes ago )
Irving's 27 points, 18 assists leads Celtics past Raptors
Kyrie Irving hit a foul-line fadeaway to give Boston the lead, then hit a 31-foot 3-pointer to finish with 27 points and lead the Celtics past the NBA-leading Toronto Raptors 117-108
12:19AM ( 27 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
The Latest: Pelosi asks Trump to postpone State of the Union
The State of the Union speech could become a casualty of the partial government shutdown after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked President Donald Trump to postpone his Jan. 29 address
10:51PM ( 1 hour ago )
Pot deliveries OK'd into Calif. communities that ban sales
California regulators endorse rule that will allow home marijuana deliveries statewide, even into communities that have banned commercial pot sales
10:07PM ( 2 hours ago )
Outpouring of generosity for TSA workers, others without pay
The government shutdown has generated an outpouring of generosity to Transportation Safety Administration agents and other federal employees who are working without pay
9:05PM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
The Latest: House OKs Democratic bill to reopen government
The House has passed a Democratic measure to reopen the government through Feb. 8 and provide $14 billion in emergency spending for recent hurricanes, wildfires and other natural disasters
6:12PM ( 6 hours ago )
Shutdown may upend State of the Union speech
A ritual is imperiled as Pelosi asks Trump to delay State of the Union speech if shutdown persists
5:57PM ( 6 hours ago )
May wins no-confidence vote, but still is beset by Brexit
British Prime Minister Theresa May has survived a no-confidence vote in Parliament to remain in office _ but barely in power, as she battles to keep Brexit on track after lawmakers demolished her European Union divorce deal
5:45PM ( 7 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
Asian shares track Wall Street gains on robust US earnings
Asian shares climb on strong US earnings reports, but tensions with China limit gains
11:38PM ( 1 hour ago )
Less beef, more beans. Experts say world needs a new diet
A report says limiting meat is optimal for people and the planet, but not everyone agrees
10:46PM ( 2 hours ago )
SpaceX to build Mars ships in Texas, not Los Angeles
SpaceX says it will build test versions of its Mars spaceship in south Texas instead of the Port of Los Angeles, dealing another blow to the local economy only days after the company announced massive layoffs
9:19PM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Business
Huawei founder says company would not share user secrets
Huawei founder says company would reject Chinese government demand to disclose user secrets
10:43PM ( 1 day ago )
Physicians criticize state lawsuits over pelvic mesh
Doctors who specialize in female pelvic medicine say lawsuits by four states over products used to treat pelvic floor disorders and incontinence might scare patients away from the best treatment options _ or maybe even push the products off the market
11:41AM ( 6 days ago )
AP Business - Consumer News
Sinclair debuts streaming service for its local TV stations
Sinclair Broadcast, the nation's largest owner of television stations, is launching a free, ad-supported streaming service.
4:10PM ( 8 hours ago )
Robot recreates the walk of a 290-million-year-old creature
Scientists have used a nearly 300-million-year old fossil skeleton and preserved footprints to create a robot model of prehistoric life
3:47PM ( 8 hours ago )
Snap to lose chief financial officer, its 2nd in a year
Snap Chief Financial Officer Tim Stone plans to leave the camera company
1:30PM ( 11 hours ago )
AP Technology News
2020 Democrats face a choice: Fight Trump or ignore him?
As the Democratic primary gets underway, Democrats must decide how _ and whether _ to respond to Trump's pugnacious and insensitive attacks on his political opponents
12:35AM ( 11 minutes ago )
Irving's 27 points, 18 assists leads Celtics past Raptors
Kyrie Irving hit a foul-line fadeaway to give Boston the lead, then hit a 31-foot 3-pointer to finish with 27 points and lead the Celtics past the NBA-leading Toronto Raptors 117-108
12:19AM ( 28 minutes ago )
GOP dismiss suggestion that State of Union be postponed
Trump's Republican allies dismiss as a political ploy Pelosi's request that he postpone his planned State of the Union address
12:17AM ( 29 minutes ago )
After Americans killed, Trump's Syria plan prompts questions
Trump's plan to withdraw US troops from Syria faces new questions after attack kills 4 Americans
12:16AM ( 30 minutes ago )
Bob Costas exits longtime home at NBC Sports
NBC Sports says Bob Costas is leaving his longtime broadcast home, where he emceed NBC's Olympics coverage 11 times
12:13AM ( 34 minutes ago )