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BIGtoken Weekly Data Privacy Roundup

Demands for the U.S. government to enact strong data privacy laws continue to mount as more privacy rights groups are clamoring for change. 

“Over 40 Groups Call on Congress to Finally Pass Federal Data Privacy Standard,” Daily Dot- October 13th, 2021

In the wake of the Facebook whistleblower testimony, more than 40 privacy advocate groups are urging congress to pass a comprehensive data privacy law and for the FTC to regulate how data is collected and sold. The initiation of these demands to the government started after this collective group launched howtostopfacebook.org. Clearly, the horses are out of the barn and the stampede demanding data privacy changes are getting louder.

New Bills Aim at Apple, Google, and Facebook as U.S. Attempts to Catch Up to Europe’s Big Tech Push,” MarketWatch- October 15th, 2021

In yet another response to the troubling Facebook disclosures, Senator Amy Klobuchar, a staunch privacy advocate, announced plans to introduce a bipartisan bill to prevent big tech companies from pushing their products to the detriment of other vendors. Such a bill has already been passed in Europe that will prevent companies from “self-preferencing.” It is incredible how far ahead Europe is in the enactment and enforcement of data privacy of laws. The clock keeps ticking for the U.S. government to act and follow the lead of the European regulators.

Apple, known for its data privacy protections, is now being criticized for its new auto-scanning policy. On the other hand, Whatsapp, part of the Facebook family whose business practices are being questioned, is being commended for its actions to encrypt and make user messages more secure.

“Auto-scans of Phones Would Violate Data Privacy, say Security Experts,” Financial Times- October 15th, 2021

This past August, Apple announced that they would scan images on smartphones in an effort to combat child abuse, among other things. While the intention might be noble, industry experts are warning that such scanning should be treated as mass surveillance and illegal. Balancing personal freedom and maximizing the ability to reduce child abuse, terrorism, and other activities conducted on smartphones is not going to be easy, but must be reconciled as soon as possible.

WhatsApp Now Lets Users Encrypt Their Chat Backups in the Cloud,” TechCrunch- October 14th, 2021

Following a number of mis-steps concerning user privacy, WhatsApp is rolling out an encryption opt-in for its users that will prevent law enforcement agencies from having broad access to all user messages stored on the cloud.  Privacy advocates are applauding WhatsApp’s development and are encouraging companies such as Apple, on the heels of its announcement concerning scanning images on iPhones to follow suit.