Category Archives: Consumer Privacy

Comments: Federal Trade Commission Proposed Rulemaking on Data Privacy and Commercial Surveillance

On November 21st, the newly filled out Federal Trade Commission accepted written comments on an Announcement of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) that asked a sweeping set of questions about what to do about the commercial data economy in the United States.

The ANPRM was historic for the scope of issues it tried to tackle and the agency’s apparent willingness, under new chair Lina Khan, to dig into every aspect of tracking, surveillance and data exchange.

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CA Privacy Advocates Comments to CA Privacy Protection Agency 11/21/22

A coalition of privacy advocates, including Media Alliance, Oakland Privacy, Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, ACLU Action, Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Consumer Federation submitted comments on the latest draft of CA Privacy Rights Act (CPRA) rulemaking.

The rulemaking follows the Ca Legislature’s 2018 enactment of the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and the 2020 ballot initiative that enacted the California Privacy Act (CPRA).

The groups stated:

“As privacy advocates, we are concerned about several changes to the regulations that appear to set up additional barriers to consumers’ ability to exercise their rights under the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA)”.

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New State Privacy Agency: Comments on First Rulemaking

The CA State Privacy Agency enabled by Proposition 24 in 2020 (yep, we opposed it at that time, but here we are), is taking its first stab at refining the rules that govern the state data privacy laws CCPA and CPRA.

And the news is good. The proposed rules by the agency are, in large part, strong and consumer-protective. But nothing is perfect.

Here are the comments that a group of privacy advocates, including us, co-wrote and submitted to the agency.

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Chrome Privacy Now! 

Oakland Privacy, the Bay Area’s anti-surveillance coalition, has put up a new website at to call on Google to add a global opt-out signal to the world’s most used web browser, Chrome.

Years into California’s effort to give people control over their online data via CCPA (2018) and CPRA (2020), Google has continued to dodge a global opt-out for Chrome.

Instead, the company, via its Privacy Sandbox, experiments with elaborate schemes for “greener” tracking and profiling functions.

It’s time for Google to let us decide for ourselves. Less choice is not better, and privacy is not a dark pattern. 

Join our call for Chrome Privacy Now and take action in three simple ways:

1. Sign the open letter to Google demanding a global opt-out signal in the world’s most-used web browser
2. Place a testimonial with your avatar on the Chrome Privacy website 
3. Spread the word on social media

How California is Building the Nation’s First Privacy Police

by David McCabe. Originally published in the NY Times

Ashkan Soltani, the head of California’s new online privacy regulator, needed help launching the first agency of its kind in the United States. So he called the state’s Horse Racing Board.

Soltani asked Scott Chaney, executive director of the racing board, which oversees roughly 10 racetracks, about the ins and outs of running a small agency in California’s sprawling state government. They discussed how to handle remote work and hiring in the pandemic. Chaney also offered advice for navigating the public sector.

Soltani is “literally inventing a state department,” Chaney said. “He’s almost inventing it from the ground up.”

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Social Media Data Act

Media Alliance is a proud supporter of the Social Media DATA Act, introduced into Congress by MA democrat Lori Trahan. The DATA Act would compel social media companies to preserve their ad libraries and make them available to academic researchers to study the impact of targeted advertising.

See what people are saying about the Social Media DATA Act.

Tracy Rosenberg, Executive Director, Media Alliance:
The Social Media Data Act would ensure that qualified academic researchers can study social media advertising and its impacts with unimpeded access to the data they need. Digital advertising uses the information social media platforms collect about us to expose us to
individualized targeted advertising for profit. Such advertising can be based on our preferences, associations, location, the state of our health, religion, race or age, When profit-driven imperatives control much of our social media feeds, we see different content based on who we are. This can result in discriminatory outcomes, increased polarization, the spread of misinformation, and the use of our most personal characteristics to manipulate our perceptions of the world. This should not go on in a black box where we cannot see under the hood to measure what is happening to us. With transparent access to social media advertising metrics, we can develop best practices to meaningfully study impact and develop policy to mitigate harm and protect personal privacy and vulnerable populations subject to discrimination. Social media has changed the world, in both positive and negative ways, and we should be able to reap the benefits without sacrificing our civil and human rights, if not the health of democracy itself. The Social Media Data Act would help to find that balance.”

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California to Vote on Privacy Proposal in Midst of Heated Debate

by Ken Silva with Global Data Review

Californians are set to vote on a new privacy law that would make sweeping changes to the CCPA regime. GDR has interviewed members from the campaigns supporting and opposing the proposal.

The California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA), which will appear as “Prop 24” on the state’s ballot on Tuesday, has made strange bedfellows, with both industry groups and some privacy advocates opposing the initiative. The former say more regulations will further burden the private sector, while the latter claim that the CPRA creates loopholes that will lead to further data exploitation.

But other privacy advocates, policy experts and lawyers support the measure. They are confident that Prop 24 will pass, and that it will make meaningful privacy enhancements – while also clarifying some existing ambiguities with the CCPA.

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