Debating Nuances, Distinctions In Consumer Data Privacy Becomes Global Fight

Tech companies in Silicon Valley and some Republicans want a national standard that would override state regulations, such as California's 2018 privacy law that broadens the definition of personal information and gives consumers the right to prevent their data from being sold.

Some Democrats are resisting. They want the nuances of the privacy battle to remain within the individual states. The new Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California is "signaling that any bill pre-empting state laws will face powerful opposition," according to one report.

The data and privacy fight is not only being fought at the state and federal level, but globally. Facebook is challenging a ruling by Germany’s antitrust regulator. Earlier this month, regulators ordered the company to change the way it tracks users’ browsing habits.

Now Facebook has asked the Dusseldorf Appeals Court to overturn the ruling and suspend it while the case is pending, reports Bloomberg Law. 



Facebook is facing major challenges when it comes to consumer privacy. In addition to the German antitrust privacy case, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission is reportedly negotiating a multibillion-dollar fine over the company’s lapses in consumer privacy.

“If you look at the debates going on about privacy, no one is making the distinction that identifiable data and data not identifiable differ,” said Joshua Koran, managing director for the data management platform (DMP) at Sizmek. “We don’t tend to see that nuance discussed.”

Koran insists there is an important distinction between the companies using identifiable information and companies using information that is not identifiable.

He said many people tend to apply the higher standards to where there is less risk and less potential for harm using the same wording found in the EU’s GDPR legislation or the legislation coming out of California.

He is concerned that as the industry tried to clarify the privacy standards for large multinational companies like Facebook, the industry and regulators don’t hinder the opportunities for new startups.

“Third parties don’t have a direct relationship with consumers,” he said. “Ecommerce, social networks and email providers do.”

Koran believes the regulators and the regulators want the distinction, but the industry doesn’t seem to bring the nuances into the conversation.

He said the industry and legislation must begin to make the distinction between a person’s identifiable information and potential harmful information, and IDs required for fraud detection and used for billing purposes.

Next story loading loading..