Democrats in both houses of Congress said Thursday they are introducing a bill that would ban government use of facial recognition technology.
Why it matters: A handful of cities have banned government use in their jurisdictions, but there are no national laws governing how facial recognition can be used, and there's wide concern over how the tech today encodes racial and other kinds of biases.
Individuals affiliated with Anonymous, the loosely organized hacker collective, pilfered a massive amount of data from police organizations nationwide that was later made public, Wired's Andy Greenberg reports.
Driving the news: Anonymous provided the tranche to Distributed Denial of Secrets (DDoSecrets), a transparency collective that serves as a repository for prior hacks. On Friday, DDoSecrets posted the tranche, known as “BlueLeaks,” to its website.
Google on Wednesday announced new limits on how long it will maintain data for some of its services, expanding a data minimization push that began last year.
Why it matters: Google has been trying to strengthen its privacy policies even as it continues to make most of its money by selling advertising.
Germany's top court ruled Tuesday that Facebook abused its market power by illegally harvesting user data in the country, the New York Times reports.
Why it matters: The case against Facebook, pushed forward by Germany's competition regulator last year, represents one of the first major antitrust actions against Facebook.
In a letter to members of Congress on Monday, IBM said it is exiting the general-purpose facial recognition business and said it opposes the use of such technology for mass surveillance and racial profiling.
Why it matters: Facial recognition software is controversial for a number of reasons, including the potential for human rights violations as well as evidence that the technology is less accurate in identifying people of color.
Google faces a new lawsuit seeking at least $5 billion over accusations the company profits off of using its ad tech to track people across the internet, even when they take steps to mask their browsing.
The big picture: Google, like other tech giants, has faced rising scrutiny in recent years over its collection and use of private data, and policymakers and advocates have looked to how it uses ad tech as a possible avenue for curbing its power.
A leading Chinese gene sequencing and biomedical firm that said it would build a gene bank in Xinjiang is supplying coronavirus tests around the world.
Why it matters: U.S. officials are worried that widespread coronavirus testing may provide an opportunity for state-connected companies to compile massive DNA databases for research as well as genetics-based surveillance.
Palantir is "getting close" to a decision on whether to move the company out of California, CEO Alex Karp said in an interview for "Axios on HBO."
The state of play: "We haven't picked a place yet, but it's going to be closer to the East Coast than the West Coast. ... If I had to guess, I would guess something like Colorado."
The long-simmering debate over encryption has come to a boil once more, as Attorney General Bill Barr again attacked Apple on the issue and a leading Senate encryption critic now has law enforcement looking to get into his own device.
The big picture: Although they're not viable in all cases, there are a number of ways for law enforcement to get suspects' data. That, however, hasn't stopped pressure on companies like Apple to build backdoors to let law enforcement access encrypted devices.
The New York Times will no longer use 3rd-party data to target ads come 2021, executives tell Axios, and it is building out a proprietary first-party data platform.
Why it matters: Third-party data, which is collected from consumers on other websites, is being phased out of the ad ecosystem because it's not considered privacy-friendly.