September 8, 2023

The big things that went down this week


French lawmaker Philippe Latombe has filed a challenge to the new EU/U.S. data transfer agreement. Governments from both sides signed the Data Privacy Framework – which replaces Privacy Shield – into existence just two months ago. And while anyone following the decade of drama over how we’ll legally export data to the U.S. expected a challenge to the agreement (Schrems himself said he’s on it), Latombe’s move is a bit of a curveball.

Latomb filed two challenges with the EU Court of Justice, one to suspend the agreement immediately and another on the DPF’s text itself, reports Laura Kayali for POLITICO. Latomb said DPF violates the GDPR and the Union’s Charter of Fundamental Rights because it “doesn’t guarantee respect for private and family life.”

Every car failed the test on privacy

As the Mozilla Foundation has found: Drivers aren’t getting a good deal on data privacy in these sophisticated smart cars. Mozilla researched 25 car brands and found every one of them collects more personal data than necessary, and 84% of them share or sell your data.

Mozilla’s *Privacy Not Included project found “every major car braind fails to adhere to the most basic privacy and security standards in new internet-connected models.” The worst offender? Nissan.

The TL;DR of the study is cars are the ACTUAL WORST at protecting privacy, especially given how much of our lives we live in our cars – while microphones and sensors pick up our every word or movement. And while Nissan got dinged for being the worst of the worst, the study notes that it’s likely many other brands are collecting and selling the same data, they’re just not as transparent about it.

This week, two unnamed software engineers who use ChatGPT filed a class-action lawsuit accusing Microsoft and OpenAI of training their AI technology “using stolen personal information from hundreds of millions of users,” Reuters reports. It’s the second class-action OpenAI faces on this; a similar suit was filed in June.

AI stuff

Meanwhile, the Senate Committee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety and Data Security will hold a hearing on Sept. 12 to discuss “The need for transparency in artificial intelligence.” We’ve been having these hearings for years, at least since 2017, but we go again. Lawmakers will hear from witnesses on which uses of AI are high risk, and how to be transparent with consumers (good luck). The same day, the Senate Judiciary Committee will also hold a hearing on how to legislate AI. Prof. Woody Hartzog, who's brilliant and Southern-boy kind, will testify at that one alongside Microsoft's Brad Smith.

And Sept. 6, California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an executive order directing state agencies and departments to do a joint risk-analysis of potential threats AI poses to the state’s critical infrastructure, study the benefits and risks of AI to communities, government, and state government workers, and train state government workers to use state-approved AI “to achieve equitable outcomes.”

Design It For Us, a coalition of students aimed at bringing young people into legislative conversations, is weighing in on how to best protect kids online. The group assembled as Congress debated the Kids Online Safety Act. The founders felt they should be active collaborators on the laws intended to protect them and their peers.

The Washington Post reports the group has already met with House and Senate leaders, White House officials, and other advocates. In February, they testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee. The group successfully convinced lawmakers to exclude teens from a KOSA provision that would have required parental consent for teens. The bill now covers users 12 and under.

If you’ve been to Congress or watched C-SPAN, you know it takes Congress years sometimes to understand the technology to be regulated. Staffers do their best, but the median age of Senators is 65.3 and rising. How can we have these conversations, and why would we, without young people’s debriefs on the realities of growing up with addictive tech? We can’t. We wouldn't. So, yay!

That's all for now. Friyay!