Daily Digest (5/13)

FTC Probing Zoom’s Privacy Problems; Children’s Ad Watchdog Says FTC Should Question Ed-Tech Firms on Privacy; GOP COVID-19 Privacy Bill Draws More Criticism; Hacked Law Firm Affects Data of Lady Gaga, Bruce Springsteen, Madonna. Click “Continue Reading” below.

FTC Probing Zoom’s Privacy Problems

Federal Trade Commission Chairman Joseph Simons said the agency was looking into privacy complaints regarding Zoom Video Communications Inc.

In a Monday teleconference with lawmakers, Simons made reference to concerns that Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Calif., had about Zoom, Reuters reports.

McNerney and other Hill members had written a letter to Zoom expressing concerns about information collected about registered and nonregistered users and recordings made by Zoom subscribers that might be stored in the cloud.

While not addressing the Zoom issue directly, Simons said the agency took the complaints seriously.

“We are very happy to take complaints from any source,” he said. “If you’re reading about it in the press, in the media, then you can be assured that we’re looking at it already or we will because of the media attention.

“If it’s out there in the media, we’re on it.”

An agency probe would not necessarily find wrongdoing.

Source: U.S. FTC indicates it is looking at Zoom privacy woes

Children’s Ad Watchdog Says FTC Should Question Ed-Tech Firms on Privacy

The Federal Trade Commission should question distance-learning companies about their privacy practices, the Children’s Advertising Review Unit of the BBB National Programs said.

The watchdog is calling on the federal agency to pose questions to companies about their privacy policies — including those regarding data-retention, monitoring of third parties that collect data, and whether they separate data collected from people 13 and over from young children, MediaPost reports.

The group’s request follows the urging by six bipartisan U.S. senators that the FTC to subpoena media and ed-tech companies for information about their data practices.

Source: Children’s Ad Watchdog Wants FTC To Question Ed-Tech Companies About Privacy

GOP COVID-19 Privacy Bill Draws More Criticism

Privacy advocates are attacking a coronavirus pandemic-related privacy bill proposed last week by four Republican senators as too weak.

The COVID-19 Consumer Data Protection Act, introduced Thursday, generally would require companies to obtain people’s express consent before gathering data-health, device, geolocation or proximity to trace the contacts of people diagnosed with the virus, MediaPost reports.

The measure was introduced Thursday by Republican Sens. Roger Wicker, Miss.; John Thune, S.D.; Jerry Moran, Kan., and Marsha Blackburn, Tenn.

But the proposed legislation has broad exceptions that could undermine people’s privacy, advocates say. One of the biggest, according to Free Press, is that the measure exempts employers from its regulations.

That exception “raises serious practical and equity concerns,” said Gaurav Laroia, Free Press senior policy counsel.

The Open Technology Institute at New America is calling for “major enhancements” to the bill, saying it lacks good definitions for such terms as “geolocation” and “proximity.”

Source: Republican COVID-19 Privacy Bill Draws More Criticism

Hacked Law Firm Affects Data of Lady Gaga, Bruce Springsteen, Madonna

The internal data systems of the New York law firm of Grubman Shire Meiselas & Sacks were hacked, exposing celebrity clients’ personal information, Variety reports.

Hackers claimed last week to have stolen 756 gigabytes of documents, including contracts, nondisclosure agreements, telephone numbers and email addresses.

The firm’s clients include Lady Gaga, Bruce Springsteen, Madonna, Nicki Minaj and Bette Midler. The firm said it was “working around the clock to address these matters,” Variety reports.

“We can confirm that we’ve been victimized by a cyberattack,” the firm said. “We have notified our clients and our staff.

“We have hired the world’s experts who specialize in this area, and we are working around the clock to address these matters.”

Source: Entertainment Law Firm Confirms Hack, Informs Clients of Data Breach

— By DPN Staff