The State of Privacy Rights Going Into 2024

PublisherSol Minion Developmenthttps: Privacy Business PracticesCyberscuritylegislation

With rapid changes in technology that impacts almost every part of our lives, privacy rights are evolving too. Regulatory bodies around the world have their work cut out for them to address the many ways user data can potentially be exploited.

At the same time, international and domestic surveillance practices are fraught as parts of the intelligence community seek to expand their reach. Understanding these shifts is crucial for making informed decisions as individuals, consumers, and entrepreneurs.

The Impact of Hybrid Work on Privacy

As more organizations are settling into remote or hybrid work, many have adopted digital tools to track employee behavior and productivity. With digitally-based work environments, employee data privacy must be considered in new ways, according to International Labor Organization (ILO) working papers.

Clear policies that are transparent about what data is collected, by whom, and how, are vital for maintaining trust. There must also be a clearly defined purpose.

Gartner suggests taking a human-centric approach to employee supervision. According to the article, “monitoring data should be used minimally and with clear purpose, such as improving employee experience by removing unnecessary friction or mitigating burnout risk by flagging well-being risks.”

It’s also important to make sure your organization handles all data in compliance with local and/or international data protection regulations, such as General Data Privacy Regulation (GDPR). With a wider digital perimeter, vulnerabilities to data loss and cyberattacks multiply. You can combat this by adopting a robust cybersecurity plan that takes these risks into consideration.

AI Developments and Oversight

PrivacyCon 2024’s call for presentations requested empirical research on a list of pressing topics. Automated systems/artificial intelligence is, unsurprisingly, at the top. Privacy advocates are pushing for robust oversight measures for AI.

There are a plethora of concerns, from potential misuse in profiling and automated decision making to the use of a person’s likeness or voice without consent in AI-generated deep-fakes and voice clones.

ILO working papers state the importance of three main rights with regard to AI profiling and automated decision making in the workplace. They include the right not to be subject to it, the right to be informed, and the right to a human interface. These concepts are aligned most closely with the principles outlined in the GDPR.

Domestic Surveillance Programs in the U.S.

Government Surveillance Reform Act of 2023

On November 7th, several Democrat and Republican senators introduced House Resolution 6262, the Government Surveillance Reform Act of 2023. The bill seeks to renew section 702 for another four years with significant reforms. Proposed reforms include the prevention of warrantless domestic data collection, and imposing data retention limits.

Section 205 of the bill sunsets the grandfather clause of Section 215 of the Patriot Act ― which enabled mass collection of domestic call records and metadata. Section 215 has been repeatedly challenged and renewed. This amendment essentially allows Section 215 to remain in effect for 180 days after the Government Reform Act is enacted.

FISA Section 702 Extended Until April 2024 Vote

Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) enables the U.S. government to engage in “mass, warrantless surveillance of Americans’ and foreigners’ phone calls, text messages, emails, and other electronic communications,” according to the ACLU. “Information collected under the law without a warrant can be used to prosecute and imprison people, even for crimes that have nothing to do with national security.”

With Section 702 set to expire at the end of 2023, the ACLU officially challenged the government to either reform the law or allow it to sunset without renewal.

Two competing bills were introduced before the House of Representatives last week to address potential reforms for section 702. Infighting behind closed doors delayed the House plan to vote on its extension, according to The New York times.

The article states that on one side, the bipartisan “Judiciary Committee bill would sharply curtail the law while enhancing protections for Americans’ privacy rights. On the other, centrists and national security hawks have backed an Intelligence Committee bill that would enact more modest changes.”

On December 14th, the House passed the annual National Defense Authorization Act and delivered it to President Biden to sign into law. This massive bill includes authorization for increased military spending on ammunition, ships, and aircraft, more funding for Ukraine, and extends FISA Section 702 until it can be revisited for a vote in April 2024. According to Reuters, “This year's bill is nearly 3,100 pages long, authorizing a record $886 billion, up 3% from last year.”

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