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Privacy and data protection

2019

The US Senate held a hearing on new data protection measures that could prevent platforms from targeting consumers based on their race, gender or sexual orientation. Proposed by Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, the data privacy act is a bill which would give power to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to assess and sanction company data protection practices.

On 28 February 2019, the Thailand Personal Data Protection Act was approved by the National Legislative Assembly. Thailand did not have any consolidated law governing data protection in general before, and according to Reuters, the bill intends to imitate the EU’s general data protection regulation (GDPR). The data protection act has been adopted in parallel to a controversial cybersecurity law, giving sweeping powers to state agencies for censoring content and accessing computer data and networks.
 

Tiktok, a popular video-sharing app, owned by China-based ByteDance, has been handed the largest fine for a US case involving children’s data privacy. According to the BBC, company has agreed to pay US$5.7 million (£4.3m) and implement new measures to handle users who say they are under 13. After being one of the most popular apps in 2018, TikTok has reportedly a base of 1 billion users worldwide.

Uganda’s President, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, signed a new data protection legislation on February 25th. The bill had been passed by the parliament in December 2018, pending the president’s signature to become law. According to PC Tech, ‘the law, which expands the mandate of the National Information Authority Uganda (NITA-U) will protect the privacy of the individual and of personal data by regulating the collection and processing of personal information’.

In a letter sent to the US Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, 11 US Senators from both parties asked the federal government to ban the use of Huawei IoT devices as part of the US electricity infrastructure. In the letter, the senators expressed their concern about using Huawei devices given the company’s links to China’s intelligence services.

A report from the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee of the House of Commons examined Facebook’s role and its use of user data. The report indicates that the company has been ‘unwilling to be accountable to regulators around the world’, and recommends further investigations by the UK data protection authority.

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