Evidence of digital exploitation is everywhere. “On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.”
Online dating services Grindr, Tinder and OKCupid <https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2020-01-14/dating-apps-leak-personal-data-norwegian-group-says> share personal data on sexual orientation and location with advertisers.
Commercial data brokers sell lists of “dementia sufferers” and “Hispanic payday loan responders” to predators and others. Cambridge Analytica used personal information <https://theconversation.com/facebook-is-killing-democracy-with-its-personality-profiling-data-93611> to manipulate a presidential election. Before public outcry, Zoom handed over user information to Facebook <https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/z3b745/zoom-removes-code-that-sends-data-to-facebook>.
High school students <https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/oct/22/school-student-surveillance-bark-gaggle>, peaceful protesters <https://www.lawfareblog.com/dhs-authorizes-domestic-surveillance-protect-statues-and-monuments> and others have become targets of mass surveillance and facial recognition.
Experiences with data protection regulation in Europe <https://ec.europa.eu/info/law/law-topic/data-protection/data-protection-eu_en> and California <https://www.oag.ca.gov/privacy/ccpa> demonstrate that getting protections right is complicated and politically fraught, and many people have little confidence in government protection or effectiveness. But with cyberspace serving as public infrastructure, I believe safeguards must come from the public sector.
Reps. Eshoo and Lofgren’s Online Privacy Act <https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/4978/text>. This bill would promote individuals’ rights to access, control and delete personal data. Sen. Gillibrand’s Data Protection Act <https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/senate-bill/3300> would create an independent Data Protection Agency, needed to monitor and enforce public protections.
Sen. Markey’s Facial Recognition and Biometric Technology Moratorium Act <https://www.markey.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/acial%20Recognition%20and%20Biometric%20Technology%20Moratorium%20Act.pdf> would ban federal use of facial recognition technology.