Please see below selected recent privacy-related change.
- Chinese president, Xi Jinping, launched a major initiative to bolster the country’s domestic surveillance capabilities, which analysts estimate will include the installation of almost 300 million surveillance cameras by 2020.
- China wants to build a giant database to track the behaviour of its 1.3 billion-plus citizens. It then plans to reward “sincere” or “trustworthy” conduct, such as paying bills on time, while punishing bad actions, like jaywalking or ignoring a court judgement – all in the name of creating a more harmonious society. According to GZEROMedia, Beijing’s vision has sparked all sorts of headlines and comparisons to Black Mirror or the all-seeing Big Brother from George Orwell’s 1984.
- Top officials from Facebook, Google, Apple, Microsoft, and other tech firms convened for half a day in San Francisco to talk about a way forward after the EU’s strict new personal-data rules and Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal,
- A rapidly growing proportion of human activities - professional, social and personal - are now mediated by digital devices and services, noted Chatham House. The users of these devices are producing an inconceivable quantity of digital footprints that can be used to reveal intimate traits and emotions and predict future behaviour. Often these services are free at the point of use but in recent months, particularly in light of the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica story, consumers have become increasingly aware of the value of their data and the price they might be paying in terms of their privacy.
- Lack of competition is killing our privacy, warned Quartz, noting that Facebook users have nowhere to go if they’re fed up with data intrusions.
- Signal Media noted in early 2018 that the three largest economic zones on Earth differ significantly in how they treat privacy. Europe gives people the last word on how their personal data can be used – and imposes harsh penalties on rule-breakers. In China, it’s the government that has the real sovereignty over all data and information flows (Russia and Turkey are trying fitfully to do the same.)
- But in the US, apart from some sector-specific exceptions such as healthcare and a general ban on deceptive trading practices, it falls to private companies to set their own privacy policies on their platforms. As Facebook and others have found out, profit-seeking, politics, and privacy don’t always fit together neatly.