We’re supposed to believe that TikTok is the only company that isn’t doing everything it can to find ways to collect data on the low. Ok.
The Federal Trade Commission released an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking this week seeking public comment on how it should regulate commercial data collection practices.
In 2019 the Trump administration began implementing a new policy requiring all visa applicants to submit their social media profiles to the State Department. When President Biden took office, he announced he’d review the policy. Many privacy advocates hoped the president would end the practice. But, instead, the administration is being cagey about releasing what its review of the policy revealed. The administration actually refused to release the information as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit the Knight Foundation filed against the administration back in April.
Immigration advocates sued Lexis-Nexis last week for selling non-public immigration information to law enforcement officials, such as correctional bookings, vehicle collision records, and license plate reader data. Apparently, Lexis also has a $22 million contract with ICE.
Representatives Jerrold Nadler & Bennie Thompson responded in a letter to ICE and six other agencies including the DOJ, Homeland, Customs, ICE, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms, requesting information about how these agencies work with companies like Lexis Nexis to obtain non-public personal data.
The Washington Post reports that the Federal Trade Commission is planning to sue a company called Kochava that allows its institutional customers to license health data. That data would also include information about women seeking abortions. It’s not clear, however, whether the FTC has the expertise on staff or the budget to bring the lawsuit. Kochava has reportedly changed its data collection practices but you can never be too careful these days.
The New York Times reported on the use of so-called bossware by employers who want to keep closer and closer tabs on their employees. It’s truly a dystopian nightmare, with companies like Amazon, UPS, Kroger tracking things like bathroom breaks and idle time. The Times reports that 8 of the 10 largest employers in the U.S. use some kind of tracking or monitoring to keep a watchful eye on their employees. If workers pause too long, don’t accumulate enough points, or aren’t at their workstations, folks are losing pay and even jobs. And we’re not just talking about factory workers. Firms like UnitedHealthcare reportedly dock therapists for time spent discussing clients with colleagues.
What are your experiences with bossware? You can reach us at techpolicypodcast.org. Click the mic on the lower-right corner of your screen. We won’t sell your data to anyone.
As social media companies come under scrutiny ahead of the midterm elections, which are less than 90 days away, TikTok has come under increasing scrutiny as its popularity has skyrocketed since 2018. The company bans paid political ads, but influencers can still get perks, like event invites and other benefits for supporting political candidates, and a TikTok spokesperson told the Verge that TikTok’s ban of paid political ads doesn’t cover these types of non-cash arrangements.
That’s it for this week. You can find links to all of these stories in the show notes.
Stay safe, stay informed, have a great weekend. Ciao.