See Summaries and Links to Top 5 Privacy Stories in January 2019


#5 — Democrats aren’t buying a proposal for big tech to write its own privacy rules

“Big tech cannot be trusted to write its own rules – a reality this proposal only underscores,” Senator Blumenthal said. “I look forward to rolling out bipartisan privacy legislation that does in fact ‘maximize consumer privacy,’ and puts consumers first.”

#4 Data Privacy takes center stage at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland

An inescapable theme at this year’s summit was data privacy. The topic happens, ironically, to play counterpoint to another central theme—that datavore dubbed “artificial intelligence,” as Adam Lashinsky, this newsletter’s regular, weekday author, noted in an earlier column (and elsewhere).

#3 Google fined $57 million by French data privacy body

Google has been hit by a €50 million ($57 million) fine by French data privacy body CNIL (National Data Protection Commission) for failure to comply with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) regulations.

The CNIL said that it was fining Google for “lack of transparency, inadequate information and lack of valid consent regarding the ads personalization,” according to a press release issued by the organization. The news was first reported by the AFP.

#2 China’s Privacy Conundrum

The country is increasingly protecting consumers from tech companies even as government surveillance intensifies.

When Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress last spring, he argued that regulating Facebook’s use of personal data would cause the United States to fall behind Chinese companies when it comes data-intensive innovation like artificial intelligence. The implication was that Chinese companies are not constrained by privacy norms and will have an edge if U.S. companies like Facebook are hamstrung by data protection regulation.

But China may not provide Zuckerberg with a convenient counterargument against privacy rules for much longer. Contrary to Zuckerberg’s characterization, China is in the early stages of setting up a data protection regulatory system to police Facebook’s Chinese counterparts.

#1 Feds Can't Force You To Unlock Your iPhone With Finger Or Face, Judge Rules

DNA-testing company 23andMe has signed a $300 million deal with a drug giant.

A California judge has ruled that American cops can’t force people to unlock a mobile phone with their face or finger. The ruling goes further to protect people’s private lives from government searches than any before and is being hailed as a potentially landmark decision.

Previously, U.S. judges had ruled that police were allowed to force unlock devices like Apple’s iPhone with biometrics, such as fingerprints, faces or irises.