The federal government’s chief auditor has recommended Congress consider developing legislation to beef up consumers’ internet data privacy protections. much like the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation. The recommendation was included in a 56-page report (PDF) issued Wednesday by the Government Accountability Office, the government agency that provides auditing, evaluation and investigative services for Congress. The report was prepared at the request two years ago by Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has scheduled a hearing to discuss the subject for Feb. 26.”Since I requested this report, the need for comprehensive data privacy and security legislation at the federal level has only become more apparent,” Pallone said in a statement. “From the Cambridge Analytica scandal to the unauthorized disclosures of real-time location data, consumers’ privacy is being violated online and offline in alarming and dangerous ways.” In making its recommendation, the GAO cited Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal, saying the episode was just one of many recent internet privacy incidents in which users’ personal data may have been improperly disclosed. The GAO suggests giving the Federal Trade Commission more authority over internet privacy enforcement but also raised concerns about the commission’s enforcement abilities. Noting that the FTC is already the de facto authority over internet privacy in the US, the GAO found that the FTC filed 101 internet privacy enforcement actions in the past decade. Nearly all of those cases resulted in settlement agreements, and in most cases, no fines were issued because the FTC lacked the authority in those cases. “Recent developments regarding Internet privacy suggest that this is an appropriate time for Congress to consider comprehensive Internet privacy legislation,” the GAO report said. “Although FTC has been addressing Internet privacy through its unfair and deceptive practices authority, among other statutes, and other agencies have been addressing this issue using industry-specific statutes, there is no comprehensive federal privacy statute with specific standards.”The report was issued a day before news emerged that the FTC and Facebook were negotiating a multibillion-dollar fine to settle an investigation into the social network’s privacy practices. The exact amount hasn’t been determined, but it would be the largest fine ever imposed by the agency.The FTC began investigating Facebook last year after it was revealed that Cambridge Analytica, a digital consultancy linked to the Trump presidential campaign, improperly accessed data from as many as 87 million Facebook users. The agency is looking into whether Facebook’s actions violated a 2011 agreement with the government in which it pledged to improve its privacy practices. Facebook has said it didn’t violate the consent decree. Creating a US internet privacy law like the GDPR has won some support from tech leaders. Apple CEO Tim Cook has praised the effective data privacy regulation and said he supports a “comprehensive federal data privacy law” in the US.”It is up to us, including my home country, to follow your lead,” he told the European Parliament in October. 3 Tags Tech Industry Security Comments Share your voice Privacy
Hillary ClintonHillary Clinton said on Tuesday she was on the path to victory in the 2016 presidential election until late interference by Russian hackers and FBI Director James Comey scared off some potential supporters.In her most extensive public comments on the 8 November election, Clinton told a New York conference she was derailed by Comey’s 28 October letter informing Congress the Federal Bureau of Investigation had reopened a probe of her use of a private email server and by the WikiLeaks release of campaign chairman John Podesta’s emails, allegedly stolen by Russian hackers.“If the election had been on 27 October, I would be your president,” she told a women’s conference moderated by CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.“It wasn’t a perfect campaign, but I was on the way to winning until a combination of Comey’s letter and Russian WikiLeaks,” the Democrat said of the loss to Republican Donald Trump. “The reason why I believe we lost were the intervening events in the last 10 days.”Clinton, who said she is going through the “painful process” of writing a book dealing in part with the election, also said misogyny played a role in her defeat. Becoming the first woman US president would have been “a really big deal,” she said.Clinton took personal responsibility for the campaign’s mistakes, but did not question her strategy or her staff. “I was the candidate, I was the person who was on the ballot. I am very aware of the challenges, the problems, the shortfalls that we had,” Clinton said.She said she had no doubt that Russian President Vladimir Putin tried to influence the election for Trump, and bluntly criticised the new US president for some of his foreign policy views and for tweeting too much.“I’m back to being an activist citizen – and part of the resistance,” she said.Clinton said broader negotiations involving China and other countries in the region were critical for convincing North Korea to rein in its nuclear programme. She questioned Trump’s recent suggestion he would be willing to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un under the right circumstances.“You should not offer that in the absence of a broader strategic framework to try to get China, Japan, Russia, South Korea, to put the kind of pressure on the regime that will finally bring them to the negotiating table,” Clinton said.She also said she supported the recent missile strikes ordered by Trump in Syria but was unsure if they would make a difference. “There is a lot that we don’t really yet fully know about what was part of that strike,” she said.