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  1. New rules would require companies to include a ‘Do Not Sell’ link on websites. California proposed new regulations Thursday that dictate how the state's tough new privacy law will be enforced. The law known as the California Consumer Privacy Act or CCPA, gives consumers more control over how companies collect and manage their personal data. It goes into effect on Jan. 1. Attorney General Xavier Becerra released his agency's draft of the regulations during a press conference. The CCPA is considered to offer the toughest data privacy protections in the nation. The law allows people to request that data be deleted and gives them the opportunity to opt out of having their information sold to a third party. The proposed regulations would also include specific requirements that businesses must comply with, such as, including a "Do Not Sell" link on websites. Businesses will also be required to treat consumer choices made in privacy settings as valid opt-out requests. Additionally, companies that handle personal information for more than 4 million consumers will be subjected to additional requirements. The Attorney General's office estimates that implementation of the regulations will cost companies between $467 million and $16.5 billion between 2020 and 2030. The regulations will also serve to protect more than $12 billion worth of information that's used for advertising each year. California's privacy law was passed in 2018 in the wake of several scandals in which the data privacy practices of Silicon Valley companies like Facebook came to light and angered lawmakers and regulators. Last year, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg faced questioning from US lawmakers as well as the European Parliament after it was discovered that personal information from 87 million Facebook users was leaked to UK political consultancy Cambridge Analytica. Other data privacy scandals have also been exposed, including the realization that wireless carriers had sold customer location information to third parties such as bounty hunters. While the European Union has passed laws and adopted regulations to help protect consumers' data privacy, the US has yet to pass its own sweeping federal legislation to protect consumers' personal information. California's law is meant to provide protection to California residents in the absence of federal law and to push the nation to offer more consumer protections. "Americans should not have to give up their privacy to live and thrive in this digital age," Becerra said at the press conference. "It should not come as a surprise then that California is the state to take on this challenge." Tech giants, such as Amazon, Facebook and Google, now say they would like to see federal privacy legislation, but they want the rules to be written on their terms. These firms have spent millions of dollars over the past year lobbying Congress to pass federal data privacy legislation. Their end game in these efforts is to preempt laws in California and other states to create a nationwide standard that they say would prevent a patchwork of state laws and regulations that they'd be required to comply with. But privacy advocates warn that preempting state laws, such as California's CCPA, could provide less protection for consumers. Source
  2. Lyft implemented a similar measure months ago. Uber drivers in NYC may find themselves unable to access the app during lull periods. According to Reuters, the ridesharing giant will start locking drivers out of its app at times and in areas with low demand to comply with the city's new regulations. The new rules put a cap on the number of newly licensed app-based ride-hailing vehicles on the road and establish a minimum pay for rideshare drivers. Reuters says Lyft began locking drivers out of its app in June in response to the new regulations, which also caused both companies to stop accepting new drivers in the city. As you can imagine, both Uber and Lyft oppose the new rules and even sued the city in an effort to reverse the cap. "Time and again we've seen Mayor (Bill) de Blasio's TLC (Taxi and Limousine Commission) pass arbitrary and politically-driven rules that have unintended consequences for drivers and riders," Uber said in a statement. Uber also argues that there's no evidence that the rules would ease traffic congestion in Manhattan like local authorities claim. The New York Taxi Workers Alliance, however, says the company is merely "spreading fear and disinformation to New York drivers" to convince them that the regulations protecting their livelihoods are to blame for [its] greedy policies." In addition to putting a cap on new rideshare vehicles and establishing a minimum wage, the new regulations also limit the amount of time drivers can "cruise," or drive around to look for passengers. Starting in February, companies will have to reduce their drivers' cruise rates by 5 percent and then by 10 percent. At the moment, rideshare drivers apparently cruise the city 41 percent of the time. Source
  3. NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Global social media and technology giants are gearing up to fight sweeping new rules proposed by the Indian government that would require them to actively regulate content in one of the world’s biggest Internet markets, sources close to the matter told Reuters. The rules, proposed by the Information Technology ministry on Christmas Eve, would compel platforms such as Facebook, its messaging service WhatsApp and Twitter to remove unlawful content, such as anything that affected the “sovereignty and integrity of India”. This had to be done within 24 hours, the rules propose. The proposal, which caught many holidaying industry executives off guard, is open for public comment until Jan. 31. It will then be adopted as law, with or without changes. The move comes ahead of India’s national election due by May and amid rising worries that activists could misuse social media, especially the WhatsApp messaging service, to spread fake news and sway voters. Industry executives and civil rights activists say the rules smack of censorship and could be used by the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to increase surveillance and crack down on dissent. Social media firms have long battled efforts by governments around the world to hold them responsible for what users post on their platforms. U.S. and India lobby groups, representing Facebook and other companies, have sought legal opinions from law firms on the impact of the federal proposal, and have started working on drafting objections to be filed with the IT ministry, four sources in the sector said. “The companies can’t take this lying down. We are all concerned, it’s fundamental to how these platforms are governed,” said an executive at a global social media company. An estimated half a billion people in India have access to the Internet. Facebook has about 300 million users in the country and WhatsApp has more than 200 million. Tens of millions of Indians use Twitter. The new rules, the sources said, would put privacy of users at risk and raise costs by requiring onerous round-the-clock monitoring of online content. Internet firm Mozilla Corp said last week the proposal was a “blunt and disproportionate” solution to the problem of harmful content online, and one which could lead to over-censorship and “chill free expression”. The IT ministry has said the proposal was aimed at only making social media safer. “This is not an effort to curb freedom of speech, or (impose) censorship,” Gopalakrishnan S., a joint secretary at India’s IT ministry said on Saturday when the ministry ran a #SaferSocialMedia campaign on Twitter. Facebook and WhatsApp declined to comment. A Twitter spokesperson said the company continues to engage with the IT Ministry and civil society on the proposed rules. “This will be like a sword hanging on technology companies,” said Nikhil Narendran, a partner specializing in technology law at Indian law firm Trilegal. TIGHT REGULATIONS Such regulations are not unique to India. Vietnam has asked tech companies to open local offices and store data domestically, while Australia’s parliament has passed a bill to force companies to give police access to encrypted data. Germany requires social media companies to remove illegal hate speech within 24 hours or face fines. Nevertheless, the proposal would further strain relations between India and global technology firms. They have been at odds since last year due to federal proposals requiring them to store more user data locally to better assist legal investigations. The new rules, called “intermediary guidelines”, also propose requiring companies with more than 5 million users in India to have a local office and a nodal officer for “24x7 coordination with law enforcement”. When asked by a government agency or through a court order, companies should within 24 hours “remove or disable access” to “unlawful” content, they stipulate. The rules also mandate companies to reveal the origin of a message when asked, which if enforced would deal a blow to WhatsApp which boasts of end-to-end encryption to protect user privacy. WhatsApp has battled criticism after fake messages about child kidnap gangs on its platform sparked mob lynchings in India last year. “You have created a monster, you should have the ability to control the monster,” a senior government official said, referring to WhatsApp. “We remain flexible in principle (to suggestions), but we definitely want them to be more accountable, especially the big companies,” the official said. Source
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