Senators Blumenthal and Udall Introduce Online Privacy Bill

1 02 2018

Senators Richard Blumental (D-CT) and Tom Udall (D-NM) have introduced the Managing Your Data Against Telecom Abuses (MY DATA) Act. The MY DATA Act would grant the FTC jurisdiction over broadband providers, as well the authority to establish rules for privacy and data security online. “In the 21st century, internet access is a basic necessity. And signing up for a basic necessity should never mean you have to sign away your rights to privacy,” said Senator Blumenthal. EPIC has previously told Congress that the FTC has not done enough to safeguard consumer privacy, citing the Commission’s failure to enforce settlement agreements or to modify proposed settlements based on public comments. EPIC has also proposed comprehensive consumer privacy laws to combat the growing threats of data breaches, identity theft, and financial fraud.

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FTC Updates Guidance on Children’s Privacy Law, Includes Connected Toys

27 01 2018

The Federal Trade Commission has updated its guidance for businesses on complying with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. The new guidance clarifies that connected toys, Internet of Things devices, and other products intended for children must comply with the Act. “When companies surreptitiously collect and share children’s information, the risk of harm is very real,” FTC acting Chair Maureen Ohlhausen recently wrote. An EPIC-led coalition filed a complaint with the FTC in 2016 alleging that Intenet-connected dolls violate U.S. privacy law. EPIC’s complaint spurred a congressional investigation and toy stores across Europe have removed Cayla from their shelves. The FTC acknowledged EPIC’s complaint but has yet to act on it.

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Appeals Court Considers Case that Aligns Privacy and FOI

27 01 2018

The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals heard oral arguments today in an open government case with implications for informational privacy. A group of anonymous medical employees challenged the release of personal information sought under a state public records act. EPIC filed a “friend-of-the-court” brief in the case arguing that withholding personal information is consistent with open government and constitutionally required. “Open government laws and privacy laws are complimentary: the aim is to maximize both the public’s access to information about the government and to safeguard personal privacy to the greatest extent feasible,” EPIC wrote. EPIC has argued for similar privacy protections in ATF v. Chicago, Chicago Tribune v. University of Illinois, Ostergren v. Cuccinelli, NASA v. Nelson, and FCC v. AT&T.

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FBI Warns of Privacy Risks with Internet-Connected Toys

27 01 2018

The FBI released a Public Service Announcement warning consumers about the privacy risks of internet-connected toys. “Smart toys and entertainment devices for children are increasingly incorporating technologies that learn and tailor their behaviors based on user interactions,” the FBI wrote in the PSA, adding that the toys “could put the privacy and safety of children at risk due to the large amount of personal information that may be unwittingly disclosed.” Last year, EPIC and several consumer organizations filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission alleging that the “My Friend Cayla” doll violates U.S. privacy law. EPIC’s complaint spurred a congressional investigation and toy stores across Europe have removed Cayla from their shelves.

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Google’s new program to track shoppers sparks a federal privacy complaint

26 01 2018

A program hailed as an advertising breakthrough leads to a privacy complaint before a federal agency.

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