PRG News Roundup, January 26, 2022

Welcome to the Spring 2022 from the Privacy Research Group student fellows! The first PRG meeting was January 26 and we covered the following news items:

On the legal front, more than the privacy one, Justice Stephen Breyer announced his retirement. Breyer has served on the court for 27 years.

The United States Federal Reserve Board released a discussion paper on central bank digital currency. This report was published on January 20.

At the end of 2021 the European Commission presented a proposal of new laws on political advertising and microtargeting, a tool that allows candidates and parties to tailor communications to small groups of people through the use of datamining techniques.

The Austrian Data Protection Authority decided that the use of Google Analytics violates GDPR.

The creator of Bulli Bai, an app that puts Indian Muslim women up for “online auction,” was arrested in Delhi.

Two years ago, an employee of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Information Technology Cell Tweeted about the existence of a a secret app called Tek Fog, that made it possible to do things like “hijack” the trending section of Twitter and Facebook; phish inactive WhatsApp accounts; and harass private citizens. An investigation by Ayushman Kaul and Devesh Kumar has been published by The Wire.

The United States Internal Revenue Service plans to require a “video selfie” with ID.me registration. (Update: The IRS is exploring “alternatives”.)

Google will be blocking targeted advertising for people under 18.

Google has been talking about replacing tracking cookies with “FloC.” They recently changed directions and are now replacing tracking cookies with “Topics API.”

Two ex-aides of former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netantyahu had their phones illegally searched by police. The two ex-aides had been accused of trying to intimidate a witness for a trial against Netanyahu. The Supreme Court of Israel said that this search was “unacceptable,” but decided to approve the search regardless.

Microsoft is buying Activision Blizzard. This may bring up exciting antitrust scrutiny in the future.

A bill proposed in New York State to ban geofence and keyword search warrants was reintroduced to the New York State Assembly and Senate.

Police in Mainz (Germany) gained access to data from Luca, an app used for COVID-tracing, and used it to locate possible witnesses.

(Compiled by Student Fellow Molly de Blanc)