Was There A Trojan Horse Hidden In Section 230 All Along That Could Enable Adversarial Interoperability?

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from the zuckerman-v.-zuckerberg dept

There’s a fascinating new lawsuit against Meta that includes a surprisingly novel interpretation of Section 230. If the court buys it, this interpretation could make the open web a lot more open, while chipping away at the centralized control of the biggest tech companies. And, yes, that could mean that the law (Section 230) that is wrongly called “a gift to big tech” might be a tool that undermines the dominance of some of those companies. But the lawsuit could be tripped up for any number of reasons, including a potentially consequential typo in the law that has been ignored for years.
Buckle in, this is a bit of a wild ride.
You would think with how much attention has been paid to Section 230 over the last few years (there’s an entire excellent book about it!), and how short the law is, that there would be little happening with the existing law that would take me by surprise. But the new Zuckerman v. Meta case filed on behalf of Ethan Zuckerman by the Knight First Amendment Institute has got my attention.
It’s presenting a fairly novel argument about a part of Section 230 that almost never comes up in lawsuits, but could create an interesting opportunity to enable all kinds of adversarial interoperability and middleware to do interesting (and hopefully useful) things that the big platforms have been using legal threats to shut down.
If the argument works, it may reveal a surprising and fascinating trojan horse for a more open internet, hidden in Section 230 for the past 28 years without anyone noticing.
Of course, it could also have much wider ramifications that a bunch of folks need to start thinking through. This is the kind of thing that happens when someone discovers something new in a law that no one really noticed before.
But there’s also a very good chance this lawsuit flops for a variety of other reasons without ever really exploring the nature of this possible trojan horse. There are a wide variety of possible outcomes here.
But first, some background.
For years, we’ve talked about the importance of tools and systems that give end users more control over their own experiences online, rather than leaving it entirely up to the centralized website owners. This has come up in a variety of different contexts in different ways, from “Protocols, not Platforms” to “adversarial interoperability,” to “magic APIs” to “middleware.” These are not all exactly the same thing, but they’re all directionally strongly related, and conceivably could work well together in interesting ways.
But there are always questions about how to get there, and what might stand in the way. One of the biggest things standing in the way over the last decade or so has been interpretations of various laws that effectively allow social media companies to threaten and/or bring lawsuits against companies trying to provide these kinds of additional services. This can take the form of a DMCA 1201 claim for “circumventing” a technological block. Or, more commonly, it has taken the form of a civil (Computer Fraud & Abuse Act) CFAA claim.
The most representative example of where this goes wrong is when Facebook sued Power Ventures years ago. Power was trying to build a unified dashboard across multiple social media properties. Users could provide Power with their own logins to social media sites. This would allow Power to log in to retrieve and post data, so that someone could interact with their Facebook community without having to personally go into Facebook.
This was a potentially powerful tool in limiting Facebook’s ability to become a walled-off garden with too much power. And Facebook realized that too. That’s why it sued Power, claiming that it violated the CFAA’s prohibition on “unauthorized access.”
The CFAA was designed (poorly and vaguely) as an “anti-hacking” law. And you can see where “unauthorized access” could happen as a result of hacking. But Facebook (and others) have claimed that “unauthorized access” can also be “because we don’t want you to do that with your own login.”
And the courts have agreed to Facebook’s interpretation, with a few limitations (that don’t make that big of a difference).
I still believe that this ability to block interoperability/middleware with law has been a major (perhaps the most major) reason “big tech” is so big. They’re able to use these laws to block out the kinds of companies who would make the market more competitive and pull down some the walls of walled gardens.
That brings us to this lawsuit.
Ethan Zuckerman has spent years trying to make the internet a better, more open space (partially, I think, in penance for creating the world’s first pop-up internet ad). He’s been doing some amazing work on reimagining the digital public infrastructure, which I keep meaning to write about, but never quite find the time to get to.
According to the lawsuit, he wants to build a tool called “Unfollow Everything 2.0.” The tool is based on a similar tool, also called Unfollow Everything, that was built by Louis Barclay a few years ago and did what it says on the tin: let you automatically unfollow everything on Facebook. Facebook sent Barclay a legal threat letter and banned him for life from the site.
Zuckerman wants to recreate the tool with some added features enabling users to opt-in to provide some data to researchers about the impact of not following anyone on social media. But he’s concerned that he’d face legal threats from Meta, given what happened with Barclay.
So he’s suing for declaratory judgment that he’s not violating any laws. If he were just suing for declaratory judgment over the CFAA, that would (maybe?) be somewhat understandable or conventional. But, while that argument is in the lawsuit, the main claim in the case is something very, very different. It’s using a part of Section 230, section (c)(2)(B), that almost never gets mentioned, let alone tested.
Most Section 230 lawsuits involve (c)(1): the famed “26 words” that state “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.”
Some Section 230 cases involve (c)(2)(A) which states that “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be held liable on account of any action voluntarily taken in good faith to restrict access to or availability of material that the provider or user considers to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected.” Many people incorrectly think that Section 230 cases turn on this part of the law, when really, much of those cases are already cut off by (c)(1) because they try to treat a service as a speaker or publisher.
But then there’s (c)(2)(B), which says:
As noted, this basically never comes up in cases. But the argument being made here is that this creates some sort of proactive immunity from lawsuits for middleware creators who are building tools (“technical means”) to “restrict access.” In short: does Section 230 protect “Unfollow Everything” from basically any legal threats from Meta, because it’s building a tool to restrict access to content on Meta platforms?
Or, according to the lawsuit:
I’ve been talking to a pretty long list of lawyers about this and I’m somewhat amazed at how this seems to have taken everyone by surprise. Normally, when new lawsuits come out, I’ll gut check my take on it with a few lawyers and they’ll all agree with each other whether I’m heading in the right direction or the totally wrong direction. But here… the reactions were all over the map, and not in any discernible pattern. More than one person I spoke to started by suggesting that this was a totally crazy legal theory, only to later come back and say “well, maybe it actually makes some sense.”
It could be a trojan horse that no one noticed in Section 230 that effectively bars websites from taking legal action against middleware providers who are providing technical means for people to filter or screen content on their feed. Now, it’s important to note that it does not bar those companies from putting in place technical measures to block such tools, or just banning accounts or whatever. But that’s very different from threatening or filing civil suits.
If this theory works, it could do a lot to enable these kinds of middleware services and make it significantly harder for big social media companies like Meta to stop them. If you believe in adversarial interoperability, that could be a very big deal. Like, “shift the future of the internet we all use” kind of big.
Now, there are many hurdles before we get to that point. And there are some concerns that if this legal theory succeeds, it could also lead to other problematic results (though I’m less convinced by those).
Let’s start with the legal concerns.
First, as noted, this is a very novel and untested legal theory. Upon reading the case initially, my first reaction was that it felt like one of those slightly wacky academic law journal articles you see law professors write sometimes, with some far-out theory they have that no one’s ever really thought about. This one is in the form of a lawsuit, so at some point we’ll find out how the theory works.
But that alone might make a judge unwilling to go down this path.
Then there are some more practical concerns. Is there even standing here? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Zuckerman hasn’t released his tool. Meta hasn’t threatened him. He makes a credible claim that given Meta’s past actions, they’re likely to react unfavorably, but is that enough to get standing?
Then there’s the question of whether or not you can even make use of 230 in an affirmative way like this. 230 is used as a defense to get cases thrown out, not proactively for declaratory judgment.
Also, this is not my area of expertise by any stretch of the imagination, but I remember hearing in the past that outside of IP law, courts (and especially courts in the 9th Circuit) absolutely disfavor lawsuits for declaratory judgment (i.e., a lawsuit before there’s any controversy, where you ask the court “hey, can you just check and make sure I’m on the right side of the law here…”). So I could totally see the judge saying “sorry, this is not a proper use of our time” and tossing it. In fact, that might be the most likely result.
Then there’s this kinda funny but possibly consequential issue: there’s a typo in Section 230 that almost everyone has ignored for years. Because it’s never really mattered. Except it matters in this case. Jeff Kosseff, the author of the book on Section 230, always likes to highlight that in (c)(2)(B), it says that the immunity is for using “the technical means to restrict access to material described in paragraph (1).”
But they don’t mean “paragraph (1).” They mean “paragraph (A).” Paragraph (1) is the “26 words” and does not describe any material, so it would make no sense to say “material described in paragraph (1).” It almost certainly means “paragraph (A),” which is the “good faith to restrict access to or availability of material that the provider or user considers to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable” section. That’s the one that describes material.
I know that, at times, Jeff has joked when people ask him how 230 should be reformed he suggests they fix the typo. But Congress has never listened.
And now it might matter?
The lawsuit basically pretends that the typo isn’t there. Its language inserts the language from “paragraph (A)” where the law says “paragraph (1).”
I don’t know how that gets handled. Perhaps it gets ignored like every time Jeff points out the typo? Perhaps it becomes consequential? Who knows!
There are a few other oddities here, but this article is getting long enough and has mostly covered the important points. However, I will conclude on one other point that one of the people I spoke to raised. As discussed above, Meta has spent most of the past dozen or so years going legally ballistic about anyone trying to scrape or data mine its properties in anyway.
Yet, earlier this year, it somewhat surprisingly bailed out on a case where it had sued Bright Data for scraping/data mining. Lawyer Kieran McCarthy (who follows data scraping lawsuits like no one else) speculated that Meta’s surprising about-face may be because it suddenly realized that for all of its AI efforts, it’s been scraping everyone else. And maybe someone high up at Meta suddenly realized how it was going to look in court when it got sued for all the AI training scraping, if the plaintiffs point out that at the very same time it was suing others for scraping its properties.
I’ve separately spoken to a few experts who were worried about the consequences if Zuckerman succeeded here. They were worried that it might simultaneously immunize potential bad actors. Specifically, you could see a kind of Cambridge Analytica or Clearview AI situation, where companies trying to get access to data for malign purposes convince people to install their middleware app. This could lead to a massive expropriation of data, and possibly some very sketchy services as a result.
But I’m less worried about that, mainly because it’s the sketchy eventuality of how that data is being used that would still (hopefully?) violate certain laws, not the access to the data itself. Still, there are at least some questions being raised about how this type of more proactive immunity might result in immunizing bad actors that is at least worth thinking about.
Either way, this is going to be a case worth following.

from the good-deals-on-cool-stuff dept

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from the do-we-really-want-cops-with-more-free-time? dept

Taser long ago locked down the market for “less than lethal” (but still frequently lethal) weapons. It has also written itself into the annals of pseudoscience with its invocation of not-an-actual-medical condition “excited delirium” as it tried to explain away the many deaths caused by its “less than lethal” Taser.
These days Taser does business as Axon. In addition to separating itself from its troubled (and somewhat mythical) past, Axon’s focus has shifted to body cameras and data storage. The cameras are the printer and the data storage is the ink. The real money is in data management, and that appears to be where Axon is headed next. And, of course, like pretty much everyone at this point, the company believes AI can take a lot of the work out of police work. Here’s Thomas Brewster and Richard Nieva with the details for Forbes.
If you don’t spend too much time thinking about it, it sounds like a good idea. Doing paperwork consumes a large amounts of officers’ time and a tool that automates at least part of the process would, theoretically, allow officers to spend more time doing stuff that actually matters, like trying to make a dent in violent crime — the sort of thing cops on TV are always doing but is a comparative rarity in real life.
It’s well-documented that officers spend a large part of their day performing the less-than-glamorous function of being an all-purpose response to a variety of issues entirely unrelated to the type of crimes that make headlines and fodder for tough-on-crime politicians.
On the other hand, when officers are given discretion to handle crime-fighting in a way they best see fit, they almost always do the same thing: perform a bunch of pretextual stops in hopes of lucking into something more criminal than the minor violation that triggered the stop. A 2022 study of law enforcement time use by California agencies provided these depressing results:
So, the first uncomfortable question automated report writing poses is this: what are cops actually going to do with all this free time? If it’s just more of this, we really don’t need it. All AI will do is allow problematic agencies and officers to engage in more of the biased policing they already engage in. Getting more of this isn’t going to make American policing better and it’s certainly not going to address the plethora of long-standing issues American law enforcement agencies have spent decades trying to ignore.
Then there’s the AI itself. Everything at use at this point is still very much in the experimental stage. Auto-generated reports might turn into completely unusable evidence, thanks to the wholly expected failings of the underlying software.
That’s a huge problem. Also problematic is the expected workflow, which will basically allow cops to grade their own papers by letting the AI handle the basics before they step in and clean up anything that doesn’t agree with the narrative an officer is trying to push. This kind of follow-up won’t be optional, which also might mean some agencies will have to allow officers to review their own body cam footage — something they may have previously forbidden for exactly this reason.
On top of that, there’s the garbage-in, garbage-out problem. AI trained on narratives provided by officers may take it upon themselves to “correct” narratives that seem to indicate an officer may have done something wrong. It’s also going to lend itself to biased policing by tech-washing BS stops by racist cops, portraying these as essential contributions to public safety.
Of course, plenty of officers do these sorts of things already, so there’s a possibility it won’t make anything worse. But if the process Axon is pitching makes things faster, there’s no reason to believe what’s already wrong with American policing won’t get worse in future. And, as the tech improves (so to speak), the exacerbation of existing problems and the problems introduced by the addition of AI will steadily accelerate.
That’s not to say there’s no utility in processes that reduce the amount of time spent on paperwork. But it seems splitting off a clerical division might be a better solution — a part of the police force that handles the paperwork and vets camera footage, but is performed by people who are not the same ones who captured the recordings and participated in the traffic stop, investigation, or dispatch call response.
And I will say this for Axon: at least its CEO recognizes the problems this could introduce and suggests agencies limit automated report creation to things like misdemeanors and never in cases where deadly force is deployed. But, like any product, it will be the end users who decide how it’s used. And so far, the expected end users are more than willing to streamline things they view as inessential, but are far less interested in curtailing abuse by those using these systems. Waiting to see how things play out just isn’t an acceptable option — not when there are actual lives and liberties on the line.

from the not-another-one dept

Apparently, the world needs even more terrible bills that let ignorant senators grandstand to the media about how they’re “protecting the kids online.” There’s nothing more serious to work on than that. The latest bill comes from Senators Brian Schatz and Ted Cruz (with assists from Senators Chris Murphy, Katie Britt, Peter Welch, Ted Budd, John Fetterman, Angus King, and Mark Warner). This one is called the “The Kids Off Social Media Act” (KOSMA) and it’s an unconstitutional mess built on a long list of debunked and faulty premises.
It’s especially disappointing to see this from Schatz. A few years back, I know his staffers would regularly reach out to smart people on tech policy issues in trying to understand the potential pitfalls of the regulations he was pushing. Either he’s no longer doing this, or he is deliberately ignoring their expert advice. I don’t know which one would be worse.
The crux of the bill is pretty straightforward: it would be an outright ban on social media accounts for anyone under the age of 13. As many people will recognize, we kinda already have a “soft” version of that because of COPPA, which puts much stricter rules on sites directed at those under 13. Because most sites don’t want to deal with those stricter rules, they officially limit account creation to those over the age of 13.
In practice, this has been a giant mess. Years and years ago, Danah Boyd pointed this out, talking about how the “age 13” bit is a disaster for kids, parents, and educators. Her research showed that all this generally did was to have parents teach kids that “it’s okay to lie,” as parents wanted kids to use social media tools to communicate with grandparents. Making that “soft” ban a hard ban is going to create a much bigger mess and prevent all sorts of useful and important communications (which, yeah, is a 1st Amendment issue).
Schatz’s reasons put forth for the bill are just… wrong.
Gosh. What was happening in 2021 with kids that might have made them feel hopeless? Did Schatz and crew simply forget about the fact that most kids were under lockdown and physically isolated from friends for much of 2021? And that there were plenty of other stresses, including millions of people, including family members, dying? Noooooo. Must be social media!
Note the careful word choice here: “strong relationship.” They won’t say a causal relationship because studies have not shown that. Indeed, as the leading researcher in the space has noted, there continues to be no real evidence of any causal relationship. The relationship appears to work the other way: kids who are dealing with poor mental health and who are desperate for help turn to the internet and social media because they’re not getting help elsewhere.
Maybe offer a bill that helps kids get access to more resources that help them with their mental health, rather than taking away the one place they feel comfortable going? Maybe?
I mean, come on Schatz. Are you trolling everyone? Again, look at those dates. WHY DO YOU THINK that screen time might have increased 17% for kids from 2019 to 2021? COULD IT POSSIBLY BE that most kids had to do school via computers and devices at home, because there was a deadly pandemic making the rounds?
Did Schatz forget that? I recognize that lots of folks would like to forget the pandemic lockdowns, but this seems like a weird way to manifest that.
I mean, what a weird choice of dates to choose. I’m honestly kind of shocked that the increase was only 17%.
Also, note that the data presented here isn’t about an increase in social media use. It could very well be that the 17% increase was Zoom classes.
Wait. You mean the same Surgeon General’s report that denied any causal link between social media and mental health (which you falsely claim has been proved) and noted just how useful and important social media is to many young people?
From that report, which Schatz misrepresents:
Did Schatz’s staffers just, you know, skip over that part of the report or nah?
The bill also says that companies need to not allow algorithmic targeting of content to anyone under 17. This is also based on a widely believed myth that algorithmic content is somehow problematic. No studies have legitimately shown that of current algorithms. Indeed, a recent study showed that removing algorithmic targeting leads to people being exposed to more disinformation.
Is this bill designed to force more disinformation on kids? Why would that be a good idea?
Yes, some algorithms can be problematic! About a decade ago, algorithms that tried to optimize solely for “engagement” definitely created some bad outcomes. But it’s been a decade since most such algorithms have been designed that way. On most social media platforms, the algorithms are designed in other ways, taking into account a variety of different factors, because they know that optimizing just on engagement leads to bad outcomes.
Then the bill tacks on Cruz’s bill to require schools to block social media. There’s an amusing bit when reading the text of that part of the law. It says that you have to block social media on “federally funded networks and devices” but also notes that it does not prohibit “a teacher from using a social media platform in the classroom for educational purposes.”
But… how are they going to access those if the school is required by law to block access to such sites? Most schools are going to do a blanket ban, and teachers are going to be left to do what? Show kids useful YouTube science videos on their phones? Or maybe some schools will implement a special teacher code that lets them bypass the block. And by the end of the first week of school half the kids in the school will likely know that password.
What are we even doing here?
Schatz has a separate page hyping up the bill, and it’s even dumber than the first one above. It repeats some of the points above, though this time linking to Jonathan Haidt, whose work has been trashed left, right, and center by actual experts in this field. And then it gets even dumber:
This is not just misleading, it’s practically fraudulent misrepresentation. The study Schatz is citing is one that was revealed by Frances Haugen. As we’ve discussed, it was done because Meta was trying to understand how to do better. Indeed, the whole point of that study was to see how teens felt about using social media in 12 different categories. Meta found that most boys felt neutral or better about themselves in all 12 categories. For girls, it was 11 out of 12. It was only in one category, body image, where the split was more pronounced. 32% of girls said that it made them feel worse. Basically the same percentage said it had no impact, or that it made them feel better.
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Also, look at that slide’s title. The whole point of this study was to figure out if they were making kids feel worse in order to look into how to stop doing that. And now, because grandstanders like Schatz are falsely claiming that this proves they were “complicit” and “refuse to do anything about it,” no social media company will ever do this kind of research again.
Because, rather than proactively looking to see if they’re creating any problems that they need to try to fix, Schatz and crew are saying “simply researching this is proof that you’re complicit and refuse to act.”
Statements like this basically ensure that social media companies stick their heads in the sand, rather than try to figure out where harm might be caused and take steps to stop that harm.
Why would Schatz want to do that?
That page then also falsely claims that the bill does not require age verification. This is a silly two-step that lying politicians claim every time they do this. Does it directly mandate age verification? No. But, by making the penalties super serious and costly for failing to stop kids from accessing social media that will obviously drive companies to introduce stronger age verification measures that are inherently dangerous and an attack on privacy.
Perhaps Schatz doesn’t understand this, but it’s been widely discussed by many of the experts his staff used to talk to. So, really, he has no excuse.
The FAQ also claims that the bill will pass constitutional muster, while at the same time admitting that they know there will be lawsuits challenging it:
There are many reasons why this is garbage under the law, but rather than breaking them all down (we’ll wait for judges to explain it in detail), I’ll just point out the major tell is in the law itself. In the definition of what a “social media platform” is in the law, there is a long list of exceptions of what the law does not cover. It includes a few “moral panics of yesteryear” that gullible politicians tried to ban and were found to have violated the First Amendment in the process.
It explicitly carves out video games and content that is professionally produced, rather than user-generated:
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Remember the moral panics about video games and TV destroying kids’ minds? Yeah. So this child protection bill is hasty to say “but we’re not banning that kind of content!” Because whoever drafted the bill recognized that the Supreme Court has already made it clear that politicians can’t do that for video games or TV.
So, instead, they have to pretend that social media content is somehow on a whole different level.
But it’s not. It’s still the government restricting access to content. They’re going to pretend that there’s something unique and different about social media, and that they’re not banning the “content” but rather the “place” and “manner” of accessing that content. Except that’s laughable on its face.
You can see that in the quote above where Schatz does the fun dance where he first says “it’s okay to ban obscene content to minors” and then pretends that’s the same as restrictions on access to a bar (it’s not). One is about the content, and one is about a physical place. Social media is all about the content, and it’s not obscene content (which is already an exception to the First Amendment).
And, the “parental consent” for tattoos… I mean, what the fuck? Literally 4 questions above in the FAQ where that appears Schatz insists that his bill has nothing about parental consent. And then he tries to defend it by claiming it’s no different than parental consent laws?
The FAQ also claims this:
I mean, it’s good you talked to some experts, but I note that most of the LGBTQ+ groups I’m aware of are not listed on your list of “groups supporting the bill” on the very same page. That absence stands out.
And, again, the Surgeon General’s report that you misleadingly cited elsewhere highlights how helpful social media can be to many LGBTQ+ youth. You can’t just say “nah, it won’t harm them” without explaining why all those benefits that have been shown in multiple studies, including the Surgeon General’s report, somehow don’t get impacted.
There’s a lot more, but this is just a terrible bill that would create a mess. And, I’m already hearing from folks in DC that Schatz is trying to get this bill added to the latest Christmas tree of a bill to reauthorize the FAA.
It would be nice if we had politicians looking to deal with the actual challenges facing kids these days, including the lack of mental health support for those who really need it. Instead, we get unconstitutional grandstanding nonsense bills like this.
Everyone associated with this bill should feel ashamed.
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from the sell-everything-that-isn't-nailed-down dept

Last year Mozilla released a report showcasing how the auto industry has some of the worst privacy practices of any tech industry in America (no small feat). Massive amounts of driver behavior is collected by your car, and even more is hoovered up from your smartphone every time you connect. This data isn’t secured, often isn’t encrypted, and is sold to a long list of dodgy, unregulated middlemen.
Last March the New York Times revealed that automakers like GM routinely sell access to driver behavior data to insurance companies, which then use that data to justify jacking up your rates. The practice isn’t clearly disclosed to consumers, and has resulted in 11 federal lawsuits in less than a month.
Now Ron Wyden’s office is back with the results of their preliminary investigation into the auto industry, finding that it routinely provides customer data to law enforcement without a warrant without informing consumers. The auto industry, unsurprisingly, couldn’t even be bothered to adhere to a performative, voluntary pledge the whole sector made in 2014 to not do precisely this sort of thing:
The auto industry can get away with this because the U.S. remains too corrupt to pass even a baseline privacy law for the internet era. The FTC, which has been left under-staffed, under-funded, and boxed in by decades of relentless lobbying and mindless deregulation, lacks the resources to pursue these kinds of violations at any consistent scale; precisely as corporations like it.
Maybe the FTC will act, maybe it won’t. If it does, it will take two years to get the case together, the financial penalties will be a tiny pittance in relation to the total amount of revenues gleaned from privacy abuses, and the final ruling will be bogged down in another five years of legal wrangling.
This wholesale violation of user privacy has dire, real-world consequences. Wyden’s office has also been taking aim at data brokers who sell abortion clinic visitor location data to right wing activists, who then have turned around to target vulnerable women with health care disinformation. Wireless carrier location data has also been abused by everyone from stalkers to people pretending to be law enforcement.
The cavalier treatment of your auto data poses those same risks, Wyden’s office notes:
Keep in mind this is the same auto industry currently trying to scuttle right to repair reforms under the pretense that they’re just trying to protect consumer privacy (spoiler: they aren’t).
This same story is playing out across a litany of industries. Again, it’s just a matter of time until there’s a privacy scandal so massive and ugly that even our corrupt Congress is shaken from its corrupt apathy, though you’d hate to think what it will have to look like.