BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Facebook’s run-ins with EU privacy regulators may escalate as Europe’s top court next week weighs arguments from the Belgian data protection watchdog that it should have the power to go after the U.S. social media giant for breaches in Belgium.
If the Luxembourg-based Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) backs the Belgian authority (DPA), it could embolden national agencies in the 27-country bloc to take action against companies such as Alphabet’s Google, Twitter and Apple.
Under landmark EU privacy rules known as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and its one-stop-shop mechanism, the Irish privacy authority is the lead authority for Facebook as the company’s European head office is based in Ireland.
Google, Twitter and Apple also have their European headquarters in Ireland. GDPR however allows some leeway for other national privacy regulators to rule on violations limited to a specific country, which France and Germany have done.
The case before the CJEU on Oct. 5 came after a Belgian court sought guidance on Facebook’s challenge against the territorial competence of the Belgian regulator’s bid to stop the company from tracking users in Belgium through cookies stored in Facebook’s social plug-ins, regardless of whether they have an account or not.
Facebook said there are merits to EU’s rules in designating a lead supervisory authority for cross-border privacy issues.
“All businesses that operate across the EU who are subject to GDPR can benefit from this one-stop-shop mechanism; it allows companies of all sizes to understand their legal responsibilities and respond quickly to regulators,” Jack Gilbert, Facebook associate general counsel, said in an email.
The Belgian data authority said the issue was
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is launching the Differential Privacy Temporal Map Challenge. It’s a set of contests, with cash prizes attached, that’s intended to crowdsource new ways of handling personally identifiable information (PII) in public safety datasets.
The problem is that although rich, detailed data is valuable for researchers and for building AI models — in this case, in the areas of emergency planning and epidemiology — it raises serious and potentially dangerous data privacy and rights issues. Even if datasets are kept under proverbial lock and key, malicious actors can, based on just a few data points, re-infer sensitive information about people.
The solution is to de-identify the data such that it remains useful without compromising individuals’ privacy. NIST already has a clear standard for what that means. In part, and simply put, it says that “De-identification removes identifying information from a dataset so that individual data cannot be linked with specific individuals.”
Specifically, the Challenge focuses on temporal map data, which contains time and spatial information. The call for the NIST contest says, “Public safety agencies collect extensive data containing time, geographic, and potentially personally identifiable information.” For example, a 911 call would reveal a person’s name, age, gender, address, symptoms or situation, and more. “Temporal map data is of particular interest to the public safety community,” reads the call.
The Differential Privacy Temporal Map Challenge stands on the shoulders of similar previous NIST differential privacy Challenges — one centered on
Apple’s iOS 14, which was released last week, offers new privacy controls that limit how different parts of your phone are used to track you. The most impactful feature, the ability to limit how much of your personal data is shared with companies was shelved until early next year after complaints from Facebook — which is saying something and I’ll dive into that a little more in a bit. In a digital marketplace where data is money, this small changes are good for users and potentially bad for advertisers.
Quick Overview of New Features
iOS 14 added several new privacy features that give more information about how apps are using features on the phone and give the user more control. Each of these slight changes can have an impact on advertisers. The other privacy features on the table in iOS 14 include:
● In-depth report on Safari that shows exactly which apps and websites are tracking you, which information they’re tracking, and how many have been blocked through iOS 14
● A type of security “nutrition label” on every app available in the App Store, defining which information the app will collect, be it financial, contact information, browsing history, or online purchases (before the app is even downloaded)
● Password monitoring that alerts users if their password has been involved in a data breach
● Ability to set an “approximate location,” versus a specific location when using apps
● Alert when any app access user’s camera or microphone
● Masking a user’s Wifi address
● Notification when an app is monitoring your clipboard
All of these features eliminate ways that advertisers have been able to target users in the past. They also give users peace of mind about using their phones and if you’ve watched The