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BIGtoken Weekly Data Privacy Roundup

While statewide rules and regulations outside of California and Virginia muddle along, other governmental entities and political groups are stepping in to advocate for privacy rights including the New York City Council and the Democratic Party.  In addition, the European Union held strong against Facebook’s plans to allow data about European users to U.S. servers.

NYC Council Passes Data Privacy Bill That Would Impose Rigorous Requirements On Owners Of ‘Smart Access’ Buildings,” National Law Review- May 12, 2021

Under a new bill passed by the New York City Council, owners of “smart access” buildings must adhere to strict guidelines related to their collection, use, safeguarding, and retention of tenant data. Importantly, if the rules are violated, tenants will have the right to seek damages. For one’s home to be their castle, privacy must be held sacred.

Facebook Loses Bid To Block Ruling On EU-U.S. Data Flows,” WSJ- May 14, 2021

In another blow to its privacy policies, the EU, despite an appeal from Facebook, has the ability to suspend Facebook from sending information about European users to U.S. computer servers.  If the EU in fact suspends Facebook from this data transfer protocol, this interruption of data flow will be unprecedented.  With changes in laws and regulations will come major changes in a company’s operations and the user experience.  It will be fascinating to see how people feel once these changes are implemented.

“Democrats Urge Facebook To Reverse WhatsApp Privacy Update,” MSN- May 11, 2021

Even though Facebook/WhatsApp reversed their rule allowing Facebook to access data from its owned company WhatsApp, WhatsApp is now facing a new controversy with an update to terms and services allowing users to talk to businesses without an opt-out option. Lawmakers, particularly those representing immigrant communities with significant numbers of WhatsApp users, are up in arms. Some companies just refuse to learn.

Though it’s a requirement that android app developers adhere to certain data privacy and security disclosures, Google continues to be one of the Big Tech companies truly focused on privacy rights. In addition, it seems that each week a new battlefield appears in the privacy wars with many now focused on the real estate markets where tenants provide an abundance of information to landlords.

Google Play To Require Android App Data Privacy And Security Disclosures,” National Law Review- May 10, 2021

In an important step towards self-regulation, developers of apps will be required to disclose information about their data collection, use, sharing, and security practices.  Hopefully, this move from Google, following a similar action by Apple this past December, is a sign that some Big Tech companies are truly interested in making sure app developers follow privacy guidelines.

“Why Real Estate Companies Need Better Data Protection,” Commercial Observer- May 10, 2021

Quite simply, with the amount of data collected in any real estate transaction coupled with new regulations in California, Virginia, and New York, real estate professionals have become increasingly more focused on data privacy and cybersecurity issues. To date, real estate companies have been very reactive to data and privacy breaches.  However, it has become clear that real estate companies, with access to huge amounts of tenant data, have to be proactive to ensure a tenant’s privacy and security rights are protected.