New York: Data privacy survey launched

Photo by  Patrick Hendry  on  Unsplash

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has announced the launch of a data privacy consumer survey that aims to improving the privacy regulations of the online marketplace.

The New York State Division of Consumer Protection launched the survey to give residents of New York an opportunity to voice their opinions and comments on privacy issues.

The new survey asks respondents about how many smart devices they have in their homes, which operating systems are being used, and whether they know how to access privacy settings on social media, apps and browsers. It also asks consumers to describe the types of personal information they believe is being collected, stored or sold by social media outlets, apps and/or browsers; any specific experiences or concerns regarding the collection or sharing of such information without permission; and what future data privacy consumer protections would make the consumer feel safe.

This initiative follows the governor’s call in February for the New York Department of State, in partnership with the New York State Department of Financial Services and other state agencies, to investigate reports that Facebook is secretly accessing personal information of users.

Gov. Cuomo said: “In the digital age, nearly every New Yorker has an online presence and consumers are an important resource for identifying ways to make the internet safer, …This survey will provide policymakers with important insight into data privacy issues that will inform our efforts to create effective policy that prevents online companies from misusing or abusing personal data.”

New York Secretary of State Rossana Rosado, who oversees the Division of Consumer Protection, said, “As our investigation into online data privacy continues, this survey will provide needed feedback to gauge how our policies and regulations should evolve. I urge everyone to take a few minutes to fill out the survey so that we can better understand New Yorkers’ everyday personal privacy concerns.”

According to the governor’s office, the results of the survey, which also asks people to describe what personal data they think is being collected, stored or sold by social media platforms, will be used to inform the state’s policies regarding the online marketplace and social media, including possible new laws and regulations.

In 2018, Facebook faced several inquiries when it was revealed that political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica acquired data from the profiles of millions of Facebook users, while working on behalf of President Trump.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress in August 2018, admitting that regulation of social media companies is “inevitable” and also disclosed that his own personal data has been compromised by malicious attacks.

Secretary of State for New York, Rossana Rosado, who is responsible for overseeing the Division of Consumer Protection, said the new survey will “provide needed feedback to gauge how our policies and regulations should evolve.”

Rosado added: “As our investigation into online data privacy continues, this survey urge everyone to take a few minutes to fill out the survey so that we can better understand New Yorkers’ everyday personal privacy concerns,"

The Division of Consumer Protection has urged all New York residents to “know your settings” so that they are fully aware of what personal information is being collected by social media platforms, apps and various other devices, and the purpose of such data collection.

Sources: Livingston County News, NY Daily News

Are you a New Yorker? You can download the survey here.