Sep 13, 2018

Tech groups move to shape privacy debate

Facebook's Cambridge Analytica scandal increased the visibility of the privacy debate. Photo: DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images

Groups representing major tech companies in Washington are trying to influence a growing debate over the future of federal privacy regulation.

Why it matters: Lawmakers are accelerating their examination of privacy in the United States, with a Senate panel announcing Wednesday it would question representatives of key companies on the issue.

The details: The Internet Association, which represents companies including Google and Facebook, released a group of principles they said should guide new privacy regulations.

  • That includes the idea that users "should have the ability to request the deletion of the personal information they provide to companies when it’s no longer necessary to provide services" and more specific proposals, like making sure regulations apply not just to internet companies but offline firms, too.
  • BSA, a software trade group, said in its own release that consumers "should be able to request information about whether organizations have personal data relating to them and the nature of such data."
  • Both groups followed the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in indicating that federal law should take precedence over state privacy regulations.

What they’re not saying: That privacy rules should require users to opt-in to data collection.

The big picture: Privacy is shaping up to be a bigger issue this fall, fueled by new rules in Europe and a bill in California.

  • The Senate Commerce Committee said on Wednesday it would hold a hearing later this month on privacy with witnesses from companies including Apple, AT&T, Amazon, Google, Twitter and Charter Communications.
  • The Trump administration is expected to produce its own privacy principles this year.

The bottom line: The tech industry sees the likelihood of regulation rising and hopes it can shape it.

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Biden formally secures Democratic presidential nomination

Joe Biden speaks at Delaware State University's student cente on June 5. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden became the formal Democratic presidential nominee on Friday evening, per AP.

The big picture: Biden has been the presumptive frontrunner to take on President Trump since Sen. Bernie Sanders suspended his campaign in early April.

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Scoop: German foreign minister to travel to Israel with warning on annexation

Heiko Maas. Photo: Michael Kappeler/picture alliance via Getty Images

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas is expected to travel to Israel next week to warn that there will be consequences if Israeli leaders move forward with plans to annex parts of the West Bank, Israeli officials and European diplomats tell me.

Why it matters: Israeli and European officials agree that if Israel goes ahead with unilateral annexation, the EU will respond with sanctions.