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

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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.

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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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Twitter Gets a Bug And Releases DM’s of 3 Mn Users To a Third Party Application

Twitter said it found no sign that hackers accessed the exposed data.

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Twitter on a smartphone device. Pixabay

A bug in Twitter’s platform for third-party app developers exposed some Direct Messages (DMs) from nearly 3 million users to outsiders, the micro-blogging platform has admitted.

The bug ran from May 2017 and within hours of discovering it on September 10, Twitter said it fixed the bug to prevent data from being unintentionally sent to the incorrect developer.

“The bug affected less than 1 per cent of people on Twitter. The bug may have caused some of these interactions to be unintentionally sent to another registered developer,” Twitter said in a blog post on Saturday.

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Twitter Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey testifies before a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on foreign influence operations and their use of social media on Capitol Hill. VOA

“In some cases, this may have included certain DMs or protected tweets, for example a Direct Message with an airline that had authorised an Account Activity API (AAAPI) developer.”

The Account Activity API allows registered developers to build tools to better support businesses and their communications with customers on Twitter.

Twitter currently has over 336 million users and one per cent means nearly 3 million of those were affected.

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The logo appears on a phone post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.. VOA

If your business authorised a developer using the AAAPI to access your account, the bug may have impacted your activity data in error.

“We’re very sorry this happened. If your account was affected by this bug, we will contact you directly through an in-app notice and on twitter.com,” said the company.

In May, the micro-blogging platform asked its 336 million users to change their password across its services after it discovered a bug that stored passwords in plain text in an internal system.

Also Read: A Rise in Pregnancy Phobia Due to Social Media Platforms

Twitter said it found no sign that hackers accessed the exposed data but advised users that they should enter a new password on all services where their current password has been used. (IANS)