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Major Internet Group Supports ‘National’ Data Privacy Approach

Many privacy advocates have called for robust new U.S. data protections.

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Data PrivacyData Privacy
A man holds up his iPhone during a rally in support of data privacy outside the Apple Store in San Francisco. VOA

A group representing major internet companies including Facebook, Amazon.com and Alphabet said on Tuesday it backed modernizing U.S. data privacy rules but wants a national approach that would preempt California’s new regulations that take effect in 2020.

The Internet Association, a group representing more than 40 major internet and technology firms including Netflix, Microsoft and Twitter, said “internet companies support an economy-wide, national approach to regulation that protects the privacy of all Americans.”

The group said it backed principles that would ensure consumers should have “meaningful controls over how personal information they provide” is used and should be able to know who it is being shared with.

Consumers should also be able to seek deletion of data or request corrections or take personal information to another company that provides similar services and have reasonable access to the personal information they provide, it said.

The group also told policymakers they should give companies flexibility in notifying individuals, set a “performance standard” on privacy and data security protections that avoids a prescriptive approach and set national data breach notification rules.

Data Privacy
Internet companies support an economy-wide, national approach to regulation that protects the privacy of all Americans. VOA

Michael Beckerman, president and chief executive officer of the Internet Association, said in an interview the proposals were “very forward looking and very aggressive” and would push to ensure the new rules apply “economy wide.”

He said the group “would be very active working with both the administration and Congress on putting pen to paper.”

The Internet Association wants new rules to be technology and sector neutral, which would mean any new privacy protections would cover anything from how grocery stores or other physical retailers use consumer data to car rental, airlines or credit card firms as well as internet service providers.

The White House said in July it was working to develop consumer data privacy policies and officials had been meeting major firms as it looked to eventually seeing the policies enshrined in legislation.

Data privacy has become an increasingly important issue, fueled by massive breaches that have compromised the personal information of millions of U.S. internet and social media users.

Data Privacy
A rise in internet penetration has distinct positive effects on economic growth of a country. Wikimedia Commons

California Governor Jerry Brown signed data privacy legislation in June aimed at giving consumers more control over how companies collect and manage their personal information, although it was not as stringent as Europe’s new rules.

Beckerman said “we definitely want to get this in place prior to California because California got it wrong.”

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce also unveiled privacy principles last week that aim to reverse California’s new rules.

Under the law, large companies would be required from 2020 to let consumers view the data they have collected on them, request deletion of data, and opt out of having the data sold to third parties.

Many privacy advocates have called for robust new U.S. data protections.

Also Read: Cuba Gets Nationwide Internet For A Day

Laura Moy, deputy director at Georgetown Law’s Center on Privacy & Technology, told Congress in July that lawmakers should not overturn new state privacy rules and federal agencies “must be given more powerful regulatory tools and stronger enforcement authority” and more resources.

The European Union General Data Protection Regulation took effect in May, replacing the bloc’s patchwork of rules dating back to 1995. (VOA)

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System for Predicting Lightning to be Launched by Government

new tools will help IMD to disseminate forecasts and warnings on time," he said adding the new website and apps will be ready for launch by June 2019.

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Representational Image .Panorama photography taken during a lightning storm over Bucharest, Romania. Image Source:Wikipedia Common

In view of life-threatening thunderstorms and lightning during the pre-monsoon season, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has decided to implement an end-to-end prediction system for predicting thunderstorms or lightning by April 2019.

“Last year, during the pre-monsoon season a series of thunderstorm or dust storm affected the northern states and claimed about 200 lives. Hence, the IMD will be implementing an end-to-end prediction system for predicting thunderstorms or lightning by April 2019,” Ministry of earth sciences said in a release on Monday.

Union Minister of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Dr. Harsh Vardhan said that the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) and IMD are already working on prediction tools for thunderstorm or lightning.

“IITM Pune has already installed 48 lightning sensors around the country which can locate the thunderstorm/lightning activities in real time. The institute has also developed a mobile app called ‘DAMINI’ to give alerts on impending lightning activity over the area,” Vardhan said while addressing the media here.

Vardhan also informed that currently IITM Pune and IMD are developing a new website for IMD along with the mobile apps for farmers and city forecasts.

“These new tools will help IMD to disseminate forecasts and warnings on time,” he said adding the new website and apps will be ready for launch by June 2019.

Vardhan said that the IMD, in a bid to further strengthen its observational network will install “10 new X-band weather radars” over north-west Himalayas (Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand) by end of this year.

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Government to launch system for predicting thunderstorms (IANS)

Also, as per the earth sciences ministry, 11 more C-band radars will be installed by IMD over the plains of India including one over Andaman Nicobar Islands and one over Lakshadweep Islands by 2020.

“In addition, IMD is installing 200 Automated Weather Stations (AWS) at District Agromet Units for providing weather services to farmers and another 200 AWS will be installed over major cities and towns for providing city-specific weather information and forecasts, it said.

“On the specific request from Kerala Government, IMD will also be installing 100 new AWS including rain-gauges to monitor weather activities in the state,” Vardhan’s office said.

In another initiative, Vardhan informed that IITM Pune with the help of IMD and Mumbai Municipal Corporation is installing a new dense rain-gauge network over Mumbai with 200 rain-gauges.

Also Read:  CES Tech Show Proves Technology Puts Our Privacy At a Major Risk

In addition, 4 X-band radars will be also installed so that a merged rainfall data set at 2-kilometre resolution will be prepared and made available to the public in real time.

“This facility will help the city administration and general public to know the prevailing rainfall situation in the city in real-time. For this purpose, a mobile app has already been developed,” the Minister said. (IANS)