Privacy and data protection regulations impact the work of every advertising, marketing and PR communications professional around the globe, and the focus on privacy by consumers and regulators continues to increase. W2O’s team is tracking the most important news and changes that directly influence our industry, including the latest on legislation, new privacy technology, enforcement actions, analysis and thought leadership in privacy and data protection.

Here’s the latest news we’re paying attention to right now. This week’s news includes the most recent draft federal privacy bill that includes jail time for CEOs, Facebook has been referred to Irish regulators over targeting and fake ads, Vizio’s $17 million settlement for tracking customers viewing habits, and the Simpson’s take on the impact autonomous driving, data mining and audio monitoring.

Draft Federal Privacy Bill Includes Jail Time for CEOs Failing to Disclose Breaches

Senator Ron Wyden (D -Oregon) has released a draft of a privacy bill that includes a national do-not-track system, steep fines, and up to 20 years of jail time for executives who fail to disclose data breaches. With the California Consumer Privacy Act on the horizon, tech executives are now lobbying for federal legislation.

What this might mean for brandsObservers have noted the change in companies’ attitudes that had previously been resistant to privacy rules. While federal legislation will face significant hurdles, many believe that momentum is shifting significantly in favor of robust national privacy laws.

Britain’s Information Commissioner Referred Several Facebook Issues to Ireland’s Data Regulator

On November 6th, the UK’s data and privacy watchdog asked Ireland’s data regulator – the lead supervisor for Facebook in the EU – to investigate the use of data to influence politics. The British Commissioner already imposed the maximum £500,000 fine on Facebook for misuse of data (the previous maximum allowable fine before the GDPR), but is now referring other outstanding issues to Ireland.

What this might mean for brands – Elizabeth Denham of the UKs data regulator the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) gave evidence to a British parliamentary committee on Tuesday, saying “Facebook needs to significantly change their business model and practices to maintain trust.” While regulators seem to be targeting social media companies first, any brand who process data on person’s located in the EU should ensure they are in full compliance with all applicable data and privacy laws including the GDPR.

Vizio Agrees to $17 million Settlement for Tracking Customer’s Viewing Habits

According to Vizio, approximately 16 million customers were tracked. Vizio TVs had tracking turned on by default instead of allowing opt-in like other manufacturers, which was discovered in early 2017. In addition to the settlement, Vizio has agreed to update the language of its prompts during set up. The company previously paid $2.2 million to the FTC in a previous lawsuit. Interestingly the TVs themselves may be used to notify customers of the settlement.

What this might mean for brands – While the settlement is not large in relation to the number of customers impacted, the attention brought by this case will continue to add to shift in attitudes and push towards federal data privacy  protection in the United States.

Privacy and Data Protection Hits US Pop Culture

Several US pop culture institutions have taken on data and privacy protection over the years. Most recently the Simpsons took on autonomous driving and data-mining in their November 4th episode, including the use of audio monitoring my Alexa-style devices.

What this might mean for brands – Yet another reflection of the rise of privacy protection in the minds of the American public, the Simpsons episode brought a light-hearted view to the consequences of computational inference and big data mining.

* The opinions expressed in this post do not constitute or represent legal advice. No liability is accepted by the authors or W2O Group for any action taken or not taken based on the information or any associated communications.

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