I'm back in San Francisco just in time for the Lesbians Who Tech conference, which kicks off tonight and runs through the weekend. I'll be there along with folks from the Axios tech and recruiting teams — say hi if you see us.
Why it matters: Consumers are increasingly aware that companies share and sell their personal data in exchange for free services, but consumers' privacy concerns aren't translating into concrete action to protect their data.
By the numbers, of people who say it's important to have a clear understanding of privacy terms before signing up for services:
The income gap: A majority (67%) of people with household incomes under $50,000 say it's "very important" to have a clear understanding of privacy policies before signing up for services. Meanwhile, only half (50%) of those with incomes of $100,000 and above say it's "very important."
The big picture: The public's indifference to privacy policies may stem in part from how long, legalistic, and unintelligible they typically are. And, as the New York Times editorial board pointed out in an opinion piece this month, many people feel powerless over them.
Photo: Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images
TikTok, a short-form video app owned by Chinese tech giant Bytedance, has agreed to a $5.7 million settlement with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission for illegally collecting personal data from children, Axios' Sara Fischer reports.
Why it matters: It's the largest settlement from a violation of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) in the law's 20+ year history.
Details: The complaint, filed to the FTC by the Justice Department, alleges that Musical.ly (a karaoke app that was acquired and integrated by TikTok's parent company in 2017) obtained the personal information of children under 13 years old without consent.
Be smart: TikTok has built a mobile empire and is beginning to compete with the likes of Facebook for the attention of young users.
Our thought bubble: While conversations around children's privacy have increased over the past year alongside the national privacy debate, this case will certainly draw even more attention to the way tech giants mine data through apps targeted to kids.
Sens. Roger Wicker and Maria Cantwell. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call
Federal preemption of state laws will be the sticking point to watch as the debate over national privacy rules proceeds in Congress, lawmakers made clear this week.
Why it matters: State lawmakers aren’t waiting for the feds to get their act together, Axios' David McCabe reports. There are many privacy bills floating around statehouses nationwide — and next year California will implement a sweeping law it has already passed.
Details: Lawmakers in the House and Senate went back and forth at two hearings this week over what it would take to override state laws.
What to watch: Look for the kinds of compromises a group of bipartisan senators who have been working on a bill for some time can settle on — if they can settle on any approach at all.
BlackBerry on Wednesday sued Twitter, alleging it infringes on several messaging-related patents.
The big picture: Having seen its once-popular BBM service fade from the messaging scene, BlackBerry has launched a series of lawsuits against today's leaders.
Toni Harris of Detroit became the first female non-kicker football player to sign a letter of intent to play college football.