Hongkongers participate in a 2014 vigil marking the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre in Victoria Park.
By Patrick McShane
In these occasional reports, Digital Privacy News examines the fallout of China’s national security law on Hong Kong.
Every year, for more than three decades now, hundreds of thousands of people in Hong Kong have come together on the evening of June 4.
They flock to the city’s sprawling Victoria Park to commemorate the massacre of students by China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.
Continue reading “Will Beijing Let Hong Kong Ever Hold a Tiananmen Square Memorial Again?” →
By Robert Bateman
Facebook has released a “Corporate Human Rights Policy” on how the company manages privacy, freedom of expression, discrimination and other matters across its platforms.
But experts told Digital Privacy News that the policy failed to address core issues with Facebook’s business model, such as targeted advertising and algorithmic decision-making.
For instance, Facebook promises in the policy — published in March — to commit to U.N. human rights standards, “protect privacy” and publish annual reports on its human rights impact.
“The new Corporate Human Rights Policy, which Facebook promises to continually build as a living document, lacks discussion of the company’s primary profit center — advertising — or its business development plans,” said Peter Micek, general counsel at the global human rights organization Access Now.
Continue reading “Experts: Facebook’s Human Rights Policy Lacks Key Commitments” →
‘Different Agencies Shouldn’t Be Releasing Criminal Record Data’
By Mukund Rathi
Last of three parts. (First part here. Second part here.)
Even if criminal records legally are expunged, the data may remain online.
This affects individual rights, according to a study released in January by Sarah Lageson, assistant professor at the Rutgers University School of Criminal Justice; Elizabeth Webster, assistant professor at Loyola University Chicago, and Juan Sandoval, doctoral student at the University of California Irvine.
In this final interview, the researchers told Digital Privacy News of technological solutions and legal reforms that could protect privacy while respecting First Amendment protections of free speech and freedom of the press.
Continue reading “Q&A: Researchers Juan Sandoval, Elizabeth Webster and Sarah Lageson” →
By Aishwarya Jagani
As India moves forward with its much-awaited Personal Data Protection Bill (PDPB), privacy critics fear that “backdoor clauses” could allow the government access to data without consent and could create a feckless oversight board whose members would serve the whim of officials.
“The two biggest flaws are the lack of independence of the Data Protection Authority and the several ‘backdoor clauses’ contained within the PDPB,” Rohin Garg of the Internet Freedom Foundation (IFF), a privacy-rights organization in New Delhi, told Digital Privacy News.
Even B.N. Srikrishna, a retired India Supreme Court judge who led the committee that drafted the first version of the bill in 2018, attacked exemptions legislators since have added, telling Digital Privacy News that the bill now could “slide into an Orwellian state.”
Continue reading “Privacy Critics Attack ‘Backdoor Clauses’ in Proposed India Data Bill” →
France, Belgium Battle EU on Key Law
By Robert Bateman
Privacy and protecting data are core values of the European Union — but recent legal cases involving privacy and surveillance have pitted EU institutions against national governments, most recently those of France and Belgium.
Some activists and academics warned Digital Privacy News that these tensions threatened to undermine the bloc’s commitment to privacy as a fundamental right.
“After years of advancement of rights-centric proposals, such as the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation, which passed in 2016), the current trend in the EU is towards the limitation of rights,” said Estelle Massé, a senior policy analyst in Brussels for Access Now, a global human rights organization.
Continue reading “Privacy vs. Surveillance” →
China’s Digital Currency Gambit Intensifies Privacy Fears Amid Challenge to US Dollar
By Charles McDermid
China is racing to roll out a government-backed digital currency, aiming to compete with rising Fintech stars, expand the state’s mass surveillance — and potentially dethrone the U.S. dollar as the king of global currencies for the first time since World War II.
The launch of the electronic yuan — known officially as the Digital Currency Electronic Payment (DCEP) or more generally as a central bank digital currency (CBDC) — went into its second phase this month.
Global media cited the move as China’s goal to have the cyberpayment technology in place for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing and Hebei province in northern China.
In the shorter term, however, state banks promoted the e-yuan ahead of a national shopping festival Wednesday.
Continue reading “Enter the E-Yuan” →
By Jackson Chen
Florida legislators failed to pass a comprehensive privacy law Friday, as the issue of guaranteeing citizens a private right of action against offenders proved to be a major sticking point between the state’s two chambers.
“We started an important conversation about data privacy for Floridians this session and took strong first steps toward common-sense changes,” Republican Rep. Fiona McFarland, who introduced the bill in February to the Florida House of Representatives, said on Twitter over the weekend.
“Although we ran out of time in the 60-day session, the fight for data rights is far from over!”
This year’s session of the Florida Legislature, which began March 3, ended Friday. The Sunshine State, the nation’s third most populous, would have been the latest to enact consumer protections against Big Data’s ability to harvest personal information, following California and Virginia.
Continue reading “Stymied Over Right of Action, Fla. Lawmakers Fail to Pass Privacy Bill” →
‘The Public Is Getting Bad Data’
By Mukund Rathi
Second of three parts. (First part here.)
While criminal defendants are entitled to the presumption of innocence before trials, many state governments disclose their records digitally — undermining a key constitutional protection.
This is one of many concerns raised in a January study by Elizabeth Webster, assistant professor at Loyola University Chicago; Sarah Lageson, assistant professor at the Rutgers University School of Criminal Justice, and Juan Sandoval, doctoral student at the University of California Irvine.
In this second interview, the authors told Digital Privacy News that although criminal-record disclosures benefit data brokers and other special interests, they also contribute to a “reverse sunshine effect.”
Continue reading “Q&A: Researchers Elizabeth Webster, Juan Sandoval and Sarah Lageson” →