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Several first-of-its-kind rulings seek to block Big Tech abuse

Google Location data, kids underage data collection, and potential EU ban of AI all seen as breakout rulings setting hurdles for Big Tech. 

--Susan Raab, Editor

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FLoC viewed as misleading consumers

Google FLoC stopped on Brave and DuckDuckGo

Privacy browser Brave has removed FLoC from its version for desktop and Android, and search engine DuckDuckGo has changed its browser extension to block Google’s FLoC tracking in Chrome. FLoC, which is Google’s “Federated Learning of Cohorts,” claims to be privacy-friendly, but “shares information about browsing behavior with sites and advertisers,” according to Brave executives. 

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Class action ruling is first-of-kind; protects kids up to age 13

Companies must limit child data collection; stop targeted ads

A federal court in California issued a broad ruling that affects Disney, ViacomCBS and tens of thousands of gaming apps, which must now limit data they collect on children ages up to 13. They will also be prohibited from using behaviorally targeted ads other than contextual ads based on app content.

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IT'S THE LAW                                   

Australia's federal court ruling against Google location setting may set a precedent for court cases and laws worldwide. Google denies wrongdoing, but Australia’s Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) claims Google misled consumers into believing their personal location on Android could be turned off at setup via Location History. In fact, a setting for “Web & App Activity” accesses location by default and customers were not informed. The ACCC seeks a series of penalties and  compliance orders as part of settlement.

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Increased privacy restrictions and consumer consent declines are big concern for brands

According to a new survey conducted by Forrester for Permutive, 73% of brand marketers are worried about the new and more restrictive privacy laws. They are also very concerned about the increased use of ad blockers and exercising consent options. Executives cite data depreciation and reduced data availability as major concerns. Meanwhile, 50% of publishers see privacy as an opportunity to work more closely with advertisers and nearly all have implemented (20%), established (28%) or are discussing (47%) a 1st party data monetization strategy.

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Big Tech is lobbying for privacy laws...that benefit them

Corporate lobbyists and special interest groups have been working hard at the state level to push through privacy legislation that will specifically offer weak alternatives to California's strict privacy law, according a review done by The Markup. While bills such as the recently passed one in Virginia, look on the surface like laws to benefit the consumer, they are designed to make opting out and requesting data much harder or more opaque, in the hope that the bulk of personal data will continue to be available to corporations. The chart shows that far more proposed state laws are the same or weaker than Virginia's. A long term industry goal is to set a weak national bill that business can have work in their favor. 

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Thirty-five advocacy groups and 64 child development experts want Facebook to drop 'Instagram for kids' 

The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, which often leads campaigns to protect kids from big tech, has sent a co-signed letter to Facebook appealing for it to stop plans for its under-13 Instagram program. They argue that it poses multiple risks to young children and adolescents, including excessive focus on appearance, challenging their sense of self and well-being, and increased risk of depression and suicide ideation. Concern was also raised about Instagram algorithms that could be used to persuade children to use other apps or otherwise hook kids. 

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In Brief: 

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) invites participation in a public working group for privacy workforce. Objective is to develop a set of Task, Knowledge and Skill (TKS) statements to help organizations train and recruit a workforce better able to manage privacy risk. Read More

Facebook under investigation by Irish Data Protection Commission following reports of the publication of leaked data of 533 million Facebook users. The probe will determine whether Facebook Ireland complied with its obligations. Read More

EU considering AI ban with big fines. The European Commission is working on draft legislation that would ban "high risk" AI applications or limit others that don't meet criteria they establish. This would be first-of-a-kind legislation to regulate AI and is meant to protect against outside companies that have systems that could harm people by manipulating their behavior. Read More

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