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Security

Twitter Expects Hefty FTC Fine for Alleged Privacy Violations

Twitter says it is expecting the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to hit it with a fine of between $150 million and $250 million over alleged privacy violations.

In a 10-Q filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the San Francisco-based company said it received a draft complaint from the FTC on July 28 detailing alleged violations of Twitter’s 2011 consent order with the commission that required it to stop misleading its users regarding how it protects their personal data.

Specifically, the allegations relate to Twitter’s use of users’ phone numbers and email data that it gathered for safety and security purposes but which was also used for targeted advertising between 2013 and 2019.

The issue came to light in October 2019 when Twitter addressed it publicly. Explaining what had happened, the company said that when an advertiser uploaded their marketing list, “we may have matched people on Twitter to their list based on the email or phone number the Twitter account holder provided for safety and security purposes.” It said the action had been carried out “inadvertently” and described it as an “error.” It added that it couldn’t be certain how many people on its platform had had their data used for advertising purposes.

It also said that it put a block on the practice in September 2019 to ensure that gathered phone numbers and emails no longer had any connection with targeted ads served on the site.

The allegation therefore isn’t about whether the incident happened, but whether it violated the agreement between Twitter and the FTC.

Digital Trends has reached out to Twitter for more information on the issue and we will update this article when we hear back.

To be clear, the expected fine has nothing to do with the major hack that recently targeted a number of high-profile Twitter accounts in a scam that tricked some followers into sending money to the perpetrators.

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Categories
AI

EU proposes strict AI rules, with fines up to 6% for violations

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(Reuters) — The European Commission on Wednesday announced tough draft rules on the use of artificial intelligence, including a ban on most surveillance, as part of an attempt to set global standards for a technology seen as crucial to future economic growth.

The rules, which envisage hefty fines for violations and set strict safeguards for high-risk applications, could help the EU take the lead in regulating AI, which critics say has harmful social effects and can be exploited by repressive governments.

The move comes as China moves ahead in the AI race, while the COVID-19 pandemic has underlined the importance of algorithms and internet-connected gadgets in daily life.

“On artificial intelligence, trust is a must, not a nice to have. With these landmark rules, the EU is spearheading the development of new global norms to make sure AI can be trusted,” European tech chief Margrethe Vestager said in a statement.

The Commission said AI applications that allow governments to do social scoring or exploit children will be banned.

High risk AI applications used in recruitment, critical infrastructure, credit scoring, migration and law enforcement will be subject to strict safeguards.

Companies breaching the rules face fines up to 6% of their global turnover or 30 million euros ($36 million), whichever is the higher figure.

European industrial chief Thierry Breton said the rules would help the 27-nation European Union reap the benefits of the technology across the board.

“This offers immense potential in areas as diverse as health, transport, energy, agriculture, tourism or cyber security,” he said.

However, civil and digital rights activists want a blanket ban on biometric mass surveillance tools such as facial recognition systems, due to concerns about risks to privacy and fundamental rights and the possible abuse of AI by authoritarian regimes.

The Commission will have to thrash out the details with EU national governments and the European Parliament before the rules can come into force, in a process that can take more than year.

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