Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Privacy Violations Crack Down: What Businesses Need to Know

Privacy Violations Crack Down

The digital age changed lives in so many great ways: we can make purchases in an instant, finalize important documents remotely, and communicate across continents. All of this advancement has come with some unwanted negatives: namely, the loss of true privacy.

For decades now, some corporations have based their profit structures on selling what they know about their consumers. Because the US lacks a comprehensive federal statute on personal data online, the FTC is scrambling to crack down on privacy violations. Here’s what you need to know.

Face the Music

Music.ly or TikTok is a social media platform popular with teens and children. The FTC filed a complaint recently due to what it considered as unauthorized distribution of the personal data of minors.

Under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), TikTok was required to obtain consent for such activity but did not.

To make matters worse, the popular social media platform continued to list identifying markers of children even when they set their profiles to private.
Privacy Violations Crack Down

While the company paid a whopping near-six-million-dollar settlement, they failed to fully comply with the regulations of COPPA.

This prompted the FTC to issue a statement saying that they would pursue large corporations who put the advancement of their business goals above the rights of private citizens.

Surely, this case is a cautionary tale for any organization that caters to consumers who are minors.

Facebook and Cambridge Analytica

Facebook has always been iffy when it comes to consideration for its users’ privacy.

However, alarm bells began ringing in 2018 when the news that Facebook had allowed user data to be used by Cambridge Analytica, a British consulting firm that uses personal data to help politicians and businesses “change audience behavior.”

The firm got access to more than 50 million users personal data. Here’s the kicker, Facebook says that it’s not responsible because it allows researchers to collect data about users.

And the organization claims it had nothing to do with a researcher turning over such data to an unauthorized entity (Cambridge Analytica).

Incidentally, Cambridge Analytica claims they deleted the data anyway, upon learning that it was harvested unethically.

Yet, in spite of users’ private data being exploited by others, Facebook was allowed to handle the mess as they saw fit.

The FTC says that they are investigating, so it looks like Facebook may soon face a privacy-violations crack down of its own. The EU is also investigation Facebook for potential violations of its General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Crack Down on Privacy Violations

Issues with Facebook especially, but also with smaller corporations like TikTok, show the movement towards large scale legislation that makes companies responsible for maintaining the privacy of its users.

At the very least, and we’ve seen this with recent legislation passed in California, more and more state governments are seeking to maintain the integrity of consumers’ privacy online.

What This Means for Your Business

The Federal Trade Commission’s commitment to enforcing consumers’ privacy can only lead to a widescale enforcement of such rules. Better be the forerunner of change than the last to cross the finish line.

Start by protecting the integrity of the data you collect and retain on behalf of your clients. By showing them that you take their privacy seriously, you can build loyalty.

Take a look at how Trustwire can enable you to do so, without compromising your commitment to security.

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