In the news this week …

Does the US CLOUD Act Pose a Threat to Global Data Privacy?

The US CLOUD Act allows federal law enforcement to access electronically-stored communications data located outside the United States stored on the servers of all the major US cloud companies, even if those servers are outside the US, provided that the information they seek is relevant to a criminal investigation.

If the “Feds” use this method to nose into your data, anywhere in the world, they don’t even need to tell you. It’s not something that the cloud companies are keen to make a fuss about with their non-American customers, for obvious reasons.

The recently enacted Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data (CLOUD) Act in the US allows federal law enforcement to access electronic communications data stored on the servers of all the major American cloud companies in the pursuit of information relevant to a criminal investigation.

That applies even if those servers are anywhere in the world, not just in the States. What’s more, if the FBI decides to nose through your data, they don’t even need to tell you.

Source & full story: The Register

Calls for EU Coronavirus Tracking App with Data Protection

The European Union’s data protection watchdog has called for a single coronavirus app to be used across the EU, rather than each and every country creating its own.

A number of EU states are currently developing tracking apps, despite warnings from privacy advocates of the dangers they might pose.

The European Data Protection Supervisor says a single EU app with strong data protection built in is the best solution to the coronavirus pandemic. He warned:

We will not be able to solve it with national tools only,

Wojciech Wiewiorowski said the EU’s main privacy law, the General Data Protection Regulation, allowed the processing of sensitive private information when it was in the interest of public health.

But he said “big data means big responsibility”.

Source & full story: BBC News

Sudden Rise of ZOOM Presents Test for CCPA

There is no denying that Zoom’s meteoric rise in popularity has been met with a privacy backlash since the COVID-19 pandemic changed our daily lives. This has ignited some significant challenges that will test the strength of California’s Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).

As the global coronavirus outbreak prompts people to flock to Zoom to conduct business and connect with friends and family, the suddenly ubiquitous video conferencing service is facing heightened scrutiny from consumer advocates, regulators and the plaintiffs’ bar over the way it shares and secures personal data.

Jason Johnson, a partner at US law firm Moses & Singer LLP said:

For Zoom, where it’s run into the biggest issues is in giving consumers notice at the time of collection about how it’s using and disclosing their data,

Zoom Video Communications Inc. is facing at least two putative class actions centered on these alleged shortcomings. The complaints, filed in federal court during the past week by California residents Robert Cullen and Samuel Taylor, accuse Zoom of violating several Golden State laws, including the state’s new Consumer Privacy Act, by quietly gathering and sharing personal information with third parties like Facebook.

Under the CCPA, which took effect on Jan. 1, companies are required to clearly inform consumers at or before the point of collection about what categories of personal information will be collected and for what purposes this data will be used.

Source & full story: Law360

Facebook must face renewed privacy lawsuit

Last Thursday a US federal appeals court revived nationwide litigation accusing Facebook Inc of violating users’ privacy rights by tracking their internet activity – even after they had logged out of the social media website. Consequently, Facebook users could pursue several claims under federal and California privacy and wiretapping laws, according to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco

A spokeswoman for Facebook said the proposed class action was without merit, and the Menlo Park, California-based company will continue defending itself.

Facebook users had accused the company of quietly storing cookies on their browsers that tracked when they visited outside websites containing “like” buttons, and then selling personal profiles based on their browsing histories to advertisers.

U.S. District Judge Edward Davila in San Jose, California had dismissed the lawsuit in 2017, including claims under the federal Wiretap Act, and said the users lacked legal standing to pursue economic damages claims.

But in Thursday’s decision, Chief Judge Sidney Thomas wrote for a three-judge panel that users had a reasonable expectation of privacy, and had sufficiently alleged a “clear invasion” of their right to privacy.

Source & full story: Reuters

SpaceX has banned Zoom, saying that it is unsafe.

SpaceX has banned Zoom, saying that it is unsafe.

Elon Musk’s private space company said that employees could no longer use the video conferencing app because of “significant privacy and security concerns”.

Instead, it advised people working from home to use more traditional methods to communicate with each other, according to a memo first reported by Reuters.

The use of Zoom and other video conference apps has surged in recent weeks, as lockdowns across the world have forced people to stay away from their usual places of work and study.

That has left aerospace companies like SpaceX – which works on highly classified technology and missions from other organisations such as Nasa – rushing to ensure they can still work without compromising national security.

Source & full story: The Independent

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