It's time for the United States to join the European Union, Brazil, China, India, Japan, South Korea and Thailand in passing legislation that allows its citizens a greater degree of control over their personal data collection and use, wrote Julie Brill - Corporate Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, Microsoft. Brill's blog post was published to coincide with the first anniversary of the EU's General Data Protection Regulation. The post cites a growing demand for control over personal information:
The ever-growing number of people using our privacy dashboard is a clear sign that people want to be empowered to control their data. Since GDPR went into effect, more than 18 million people from around the world have used our tool to manage their personal information. The highest level of engagement, both on a per capita basis and in absolute numbers, continues to come from the United States where about 6.7 million people have used the dashboard.
No matter how much work companies like Microsoft do to help organizations secure sensitive data and empower individuals to manage their own data, preserving a strong right to privacy will always fundamentally be a matter of law that falls to governments. Despite the high level of interest in exercising control over personal data from U.S. consumers, the United States has yet to join the EU and other nations around the world in passing national legislation that accounts for how people use technology in their lives today.
Brill for federal legislation that upholds a fundamental right to privacy, requires greater accountability and transparency in how companies use the personal information they collect, places accountability obligations on the companies that collect and use sensitive personal information, and includes strong enforcement provisions.
Until the U.S. Congress acts on a nationwide level, there's always state law. On January 1, 2020, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) will go into effect. It's the first state data privacy law and gives Californians the following rights:
- They have the right to corporate disclosure of how their personal data is being collected and used.
- They have the right to access personal information that is collected.
- They have the right to request personal information be deleted.
- They have the right to know how their personal information is being shared and with whom.
- They have the right to opt out of the sale of their personal information.
- They have the right to equal service and price, regardless of whether or not they share data.
What's giving tech companies pause is the scope of the act. The CCPA applies to any company that does business in California or has customers that reside in California and meets one of the following criteria:
- The company earns more than $25,000,000 a year in revenue.
- The company makes at least 50% of its annual revenue from selling personal consumer data.
- The company annually buys, receives, sells or shares personal consumer data of 50,000 or more consumers, households or devices.
In a tech landscape where edge computing and IoT is on the rise, the CCPA could have far-reaching consequences.
Related: More users worldwide are refusing to share location data with apps — As TechRepublic reports, "Globally, the opt-in rate for the sharing of location data fell nearly two percent overall despite massive increases in certain sectors, showing that users are more aware of which apps really needed certain data."
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