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Tech newsletter: The people want a data privacy law

Here's this week's tech newsletter.

 

Andrew Wyrich

Tech

Posted on Jan 18, 2022   Updated on Jan 18, 2022, 10:41 am CST

Welcome to the Tuesday edition of Internet Insider, where we dissect tech and politics unfolding online.

TODAY:

  • Analysis: There’s clearly an appetite for a data privacy law, now Congress just needs to pass a good one
  • FCC wants telecom companies to be more transparent with data breaches
  • FTC warns of scam involving cryptocurrency ATM—and a QR code

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Image of a computer-genereated padlock made out of data
DestroLove/Shutterstock (Licensed) Remix by Max Fleishman

BREAK THE INTERNET

There’s clearly an appetite for a data privacy law, now Congress just needs to pass a good one

Analysis

A new poll has found that there is massive support for Congress to finally get its act together and pass a federal data privacy law. 

Morning Consult and Politico recently found that 56% of registered voters either “strongly” supported or “somewhat” supported the passing of a law that would “make it illegal for social media companies to use algorithms to determine the content users see based on personal data social media companies have collected from them.”

The poll also found that support for such a law was bipartisan, with 62% of Democrats54% of Republicans, and 50% of independents indicating their support. 

Such widespread support can also be seen in some recent real world action. A week before the results of the poll came out, a coalition of public interest and advocacy groups delivered more than 24,000 petitions to a senator where they said they wanted a law that would make “the internet a better, safer place that enhances our democracy and where our rights are protected.”

But will Congress ever act?

When different versions of a data privacy law were being debated in 2019, there wasn’t a ton of agreement between Democrats and Republicans. 

But last year, former Facebook employee-turned whistleblower Frances Haugen testified before Congress. That testimony, according to some lawmakers, could become a “catalyst” for getting together and passing a data privacy law after years of back-and-forth and little agreement.

Citizens wants a data privacy bill, and they want it now. Let’s see if lawmakers listen.

—Andrew Wyrich, deputy tech editor


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FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel at a confirmation hearing in the Senate on Wednesday.
commerce.senate.gov (Fair Use)

INTERNET RIGHTS

FCC wants telecom companies to be more transparent with data breaches

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel shared a rulemaking proposal recently that would tighten the requirements for telecom companies to report data breaches.

The proposal would specifically eliminate a current 7-day waiting period for companies to notify customers of a data breach, require companies to notify customers of inadvertent or accidental data breaches, and require carriers to notify the FCC of all reportable breaches in addition to the FBI and Secret Service.

“Current law already requires telecommunications carriers to protect the privacy and security of sensitive customer information. But these rules need updating to fully reflect the evolving nature of data breaches and the real-time threat they pose to affected consumers,” Rosenworcel said in a statement.

She added: “Customers deserve to be protected against the increase in frequency, sophistication, and scale of these data leaks, and the consequences that can last years after an exposure of personal information.”

—A.W.


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young woman scanning qr code on phone with atm
Trismegist san/Shutterstock (Licensed)

SCAMS

FTC warns of scam involving cryptocurrency ATM—and a QR code

The Federal Trade Commission says scammers are using impersonators to trick people into giving them money in transactions involving QR codes and cryptocurrency ATMs.

Scammers have increasingly turned to cryptocurrency in recent years, perhaps because it’s more difficult to track and is transferable.

The FTC says targets of the latest scam may receive a call from someone claiming to be law enforcement, the government, or your utility company. The caller could also pretend to be an online romantic interest or someone saying you’ve won the lottery or another prize.

As with any scam, the caller eventually asks you for money. Those who seem amenable will be directed to a store or other business that has a crypto ATM. The scammer will remain on the phone throughout, the FTC says.

Once you reach the ATM, the scammer directs you to buy crypto. Then they send you a QR code with their address embedded in it, the FTC reports. You’re instructed to scan the code so that the money transfers to them.

“But then your money is gone,” the FTC says.

 —Claire Goforth


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*First Published: Jan 18, 2022, 10:01 am CST