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Privacy concerns are front and center as pressures mount for change

The battle between Facebook and Apple continues showing two very different views customer engagement and privacy. Good news is that new mechanisms are coming to the fore to address a myriad of privacy challenges. 

--Susan Raab, Editor

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Facebook wants to tell you a story about privacy

Facebook in full privacy reassurance mode

Facebook is trying out new tactics to persuade users to opt in to ad tracking and reassure them it respects their privacy.

In the next round of its on-going wrestling match with Apple, Facebook is testing a prompt on its mobile app for iPhone & iPad users that offers personalized ads as the reason to grant permission for Facebook to track them on iOS.  Meanwhile, Facebook-owned WhatsApp is featuring reassuring messages about its privacy practices in its Status notes. They have not specified whether these are fiction or non-fiction. 

Read More - Mobile app prompts

Read More - WhatsApp Status stories

Global opt-out in one button! Could it be true?

Little-known CCPA provision could be a game changer, Global Privacy Control advocates believe

An obscure provision in the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) could be the key to effective data sharing opt-outs, according to some privacy experts.  The rule gives consumers the right opt-out from data sales through a "global privacy control" which would automatically apply to all Web sites they visit.  Privacy advocates including the CEO of DuckDuckGo believe compliance can be achieved with a signal sent by browsers alerting websites of a user's opt-out preference. Unlike previous Do Not Track efforts, this would have the force of law, at least in California.  DuckDuckGo and other browser companies have been building the signal into their products and project that 40 million users will be sending it in the near future.

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The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which includes Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, has announced key data initiatives and approved a Digital Master Plan for 2025. The ASEAN Data Management Framework and ASEAN Model Contractual Clauses focus respectively on guidelines for data governance, and on contractual terms and conditions for use in legal agreements for cross border transfers. The Digital Master Plan will look at bridging markets, expanding digital skills and building a strong and cohesive digital infrastructure for future expansion.

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Biometric data in 96 countries shows broad use for travel and banking - and rapid growth

Comparitech has issued a global biometric study showing what data is being collected and what it is being used for. China ranks at the bottom for privacy. The U.S. ranks fourth-worst. Ireland and Portugal rank high for privacy because of their biometric laws, and EU countries did better than non-EU countries thanks to GDPR. A separate COVID-19 table shows the concerning impact of that data collection. 

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Companies strive to make secure digital passports for COVID-19 vaccine authentication

As more people are vaccinated and we move toward a return to public events, travel and gatherings, there is a clear need to have a valid, secure way to confirm whether a given person has been vaccinated. The Commons Project and a group of health and technology companies including Microsoft, Oracle, Salesforce, Cerner, Epic and Cigna are looking to develop common standards for health cards, via a new file type that could hold vaccine records without violating privacy. 

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In Brief: 

UN Secretary-General calls for global rules oversight on social media companies: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for a global regulatory framework to rein-in the power of social media companies like Twitter and Facebook. Speaking at a news conference, Guterres expressed grave concern about the amount of data the companies control, the potential use of that data to influence politics and our behavior, and the risks of allowing these companies to continue to have unrestricted power over our lives. Read More

Facebook waltzes away from Cambridge Analytica problem by gagging UK DPO: A convenient-for-Facebook secret arrangement previously made with the UK's ICO resulted in the UK's information commissioner's refusal to answer whether Facebook completed a publicly promised app audit. This after Facebook was wrist-slapped with a meager £500,000 penalty and walked away with an unspecified amount of user data.  Read More

Grindr fined $11.7M for exposing user data without consent: Norway's Data Protection Agency ruled that it would fine Grindr, the world's most popular gay dating app, $11.7M after it was found it shared details about its users with at least five ad companies. Read More

Apple's Day in the Life of Your Data: On a more positive privacy note, Apple offered an easy-to-understand story that illustrated how its privacy controls can make a big difference.  Following the simple story of a dad taking his daughter to the park, Apple shows step-by-step how much data could be revealed by looking up the weather, checking a map, taking a photo, and other common actions -- and how much of that sharing its privacy controls would prevent. Read More

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