PRG News Round Up – October 24


Ann Cavoukian, the former privacy commissioner of Ontario and key developer of the Privacy by Design movement, resigned from Sidewalk Labs. Cavoukian said that her resignation was intended as a “strong statement” about the treatment of data privacy in Sidewalk Labs’ plans for a smart city neighborhood in Toronto. Sidewalk Labs had recently shared that, while it was committed to de-identifying all the data it collects, it would not require, and therefore could not guarantee, that other groups participating in the project would do the same. 


Subscribers have reported that Netflix shows different images to represent titles depending on a user’s race or ethnicity. Netflix has denied such racial targeting and has insisted that they only use a user’s past viewing history to inform promotional images.  


According to a recent study in Science, it is becoming increasingly easy to identify someone in the United States based existing ancestral data voluntarily given to companies such as 23andMe. Police have been able to use long-range familial searches to identify and arrest suspects in cases. This investigatory technique is particularly successful in identifying individuals of certain ethnic backgrounds— the study found that approximately 60% of the searches for individuals of European-descent will result in a third cousin or closer match.


This news roundup was compiled by Alexia Ramirez