California, Delaware and Utah are the states that best protect users' online privacy in 2019, according to an annual ranking by privacy and cybersecurity research firm Comparitech.
Why it matters: States are taking the lead on online privacy protections in the U.S. as bipartisan efforts in Congress have yet to produce a federal privacy law.
If you've taken a college entry test in the last few years, your personal information may have been used to decide which colleges can recruit you.
Why it matters: Universities and other educational organizations are buying high schoolers' personal data from SAT administrator College Board to target and recruit future students. More than 3 million students in 2018 gave up their personal information in the process of taking the SAT, ACT and PSAT, the New York Times reports.
California's pending European-style digital privacy law will likely be the most impactful in the country, but it won't be the first. Nevada's law takes effect Tuesday.
Why it matters: With no superseding federal law, we're at the start of, potentially, 50 different privacy laws covering each of the 50 states — all interacting, potentially conflicting, and affecting business and consumer peace of mind for years to come.
With impeachment hogging Congress' agenda, no national privacy law is likely to pre-empt California's stringent rules from going into effect next year — and activists in the state are already gearing up to put an even tougher initiative on the state's 2020 ballot.
Why it matters: California's rules often become de facto national standards. Home to Google and Facebook, this is where the tech industry's user-tracking, ad-targeting economy was born, but now it's also where efforts to tame the industry keep sprouting.
A landmark privacy law in California, which kicks in Jan. 1, will give Golden State residents the right to find out what a company knows about them and get it deleted — and to stop the company from selling it.
Why it matters: It could effectively become a national privacy law, since companies that are racing to comply with it may give these privileges to non-Californians, too.
The web's trade organization, the Internet Association, became the latest industry group to urge Congress to pass a national privacy law.
Why it matters: Industry organizations, individual companies and consumer groups all say they want privacy legislation. They probably vary in what they would like to see in such legislation, but there could well be room for something that all could get behind.
Grant for the Web, a group funded by the Mozilla Foundation, Coil and Creative Commons, announced on Monday $100 million in funding to innovate new ways to monetize online content without using user behavior for advertising.
Why it matters: At present, the most sustainable way for a website to draw revenue from its content involves promoting advertisements based on detailed assessments of user behavior. Though that's a strategy many find to be a violation of privacy, there aren't other options available.
51 Business Roundtable CEOs, including those from Amazon, AT&T and IBM, sent a letter to congressional leaders on Tuesday asking that consumer privacy legislation be fast-tracked into law.
Why it matters: Now more than ever politicians and government agencies are trying to outline how to hold companies accountable when it comes to keeping consumers' data safe. Both Facebook and YouTube settled with FTC regulators over privacy violations recently, setting off a broader reckoning around data privacy in the era of Big Tech.
Until now, the vast majority of information collected about us has remained untouched — there was just too much to make sense of it all.
What's happening: Artificial intelligence allows data that might once have gone unnoticed to now be detected, analyzed and logged in real time. It's already started supercharging surveillance at work, in schools and in cities.
A collection of consumer groups has written a letter to California lawmakers urging them to keep the strong protections in a state law due to take effect next year.
Why it matters: The California law, if left largely as is, could usher in a range of new consumer protections. However, direct marketers and tech companies, working through various entities, have been seeking to water down the law.