Web Excursions 2021-09-11

The State of Consumer Data Privacy Laws in the US (And Why It Matters)

  • The United States doesn’t have a singular law that covers the privacy of all types of data. - Instead, it has a mix of laws that go by acronyms like HIPAA, FCRA, FERPA, GLBA, ECPA, COPPA, and VPPA.

    • These laws have similar provisions that tend to give you some type of notice and choice in controlling your data

    • Since there are no federal privacy laws regulating many companies, [tech companies] are pretty much free to do what they want with the data, unless a state has its own data privacy law (more on that below).

  • Current laws

    • The Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA) prevents the disclosure of VHS rental records.

    • The Federal Trade Commission Act (FTC Act) empowers the FTC to go after an app or website that violates its own privacy policy

    • The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) covers information in your credit report.

    • The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) details who can request student education records.

    • The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (COPPA) imposes certain limits on a company’s data collection for children under 13 years old.

    • The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) has little to do with privacy and

      • covers only communication between you and “covered entities,”

      • which include doctors, hospitals, pharmacies, insurers, and other similar businesses

    • The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) requires consumer financial products, such as loan services or investment-advice services, to explain how they share data, as well as the customer’s right to opt out

    • The Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) restricts government wiretaps on telephone calls and other electronic signals (though the USA Patriot Act redefined much of this).

      • It also sets broad rules concerning how employers can monitor employee communications.

      • Critics often point out that ECPA, which was passed in 1986, is outdated

  • Currently, three states in the US have three different comprehensive consumer privacy laws:

    • California (CCPA and its amendment, CPRA), Virginia (VCDPA), and Colorado (ColoPA).

    • Regardless of which state a company is located in, the rights the laws provide apply only to people who live in these states.

  • These laws differ slightly in other ways, such as in

    • the allowed cure periods (the amount of time a company has to correct a mistake),

    • the size or income level of businesses the law applies to, and

    • whether you can use tools or “authorized agents” for opt-out requests

  • All of the experts we spoke with preferred an opt-in consent model and “privacy by default” concepts.

  • Four areas that deserve basic protections, according to privacy experts

    • Data collection and sharing rights

    • Data minimization

    • Nondiscrimination and no data-use discrimination

  • The experts we spoke to referred to California’s privacy protections as the strongest in the US,

    • since the regulations include a limited “private right of action”—the ability to sue a company—against certain types of data breaches.

    • California also requires a “global opt out” to remove one’s self from data sharing by device or browser,

      • instead of being forced to opt out on each site individually.

      • In contrast, some of the experts we spoke with viewed Virginia’s Consumer Data Protection Act with skepticism.

  • One sticking point of the current opt-out system is notification fatigue. When every app and website is asking you for dozens of permissions, it becomes easier to accept the status quo than to manually opt out of every tracking technology

    • In place of that, experts are pushing for the ability to use browser extensions or other tools that opt out automatically

  • Ashkan Soltani, the former chief technologist at the FTC, has proposed a technical solution with Global Privacy Control (GPC),

    • which provides a way to opt out of the sale of data at the browser or device level—

    • an improvement over the need to opt out at every site or on every service.

    • GPC is currently included in a handful of browsers and is respected by several publications, including The New York Times.

    • California will more explicitly require businesses to honor GPC once its “global opt out” rules go into effect in 2023.


Meditation is like mountaineering: approach it with care | Psyche Ideas

  • While it can lead to positive feelings or pleasant experiences, it can also cause discomfort.

    • Sometimes meditation leads to new or worsened anxiety, depression or other mental illness.

  • Thus, meditation is less like exercise in general than it is like mountain-climbing –

    • something potentially strenuous that, depending on your objectives, you should approach with caution, training and an awareness of the risks.

  • When it comes to meditation, the matter of who has attained advanced spiritual states is a matter of serious debate.

    • Many scholars and practitioners argue that one can unhelpfully cling to certain experiences or claims of attainment – a false summit.

    • In other words, people cling to certain ideas of what meditation will yield, chase particular states, and make claims of having achieved a certain status,

      • when in reality they might have much further to go or issues still to resolve.

  • Despite beliefs to the contrary, even in traditional Buddhist monasteries, only a small group of privileged monastics dedicated their time to meditation.

    • That’s not to say that meditation can’t be used by the less privileged, of course,

    • but most attempts to commercialise meditation target those with disposable income.

  • Being aware of one’s mind makes a difference in meditation too.

    • If you’ve never explored the depths of your psyche, and/or have a history of unexplored trauma or untreated mental illness, it would be reckless to launch into formal meditation practice,

    • in the same way that someone with physical limitations would be ill-advised to embark without training on a challenging mountaineering expedition.


How to come out of your shell | Psyche Guides

  • You can increase your willingness and ability to come out of your shell by making efforts to change yourself from the inside out, the outside in, and by considering your overarching values and goals.

  • a phenomenon known as affective presence – a trait-like tendency that people have to make others feel a certain way.

  • coming up ‘with a number of hooks –

    • interesting or memorable talking points,

      • for example related to your current interests –

    • that you can use in your next conversation, especially if someone asks you “What do you do?”.’

  • sign up for a club or group activity that will essentially require you to behave in a more extraverted fashion.

  • You are far more likely to succeed if your desire for change serves a more meaningful value or goal.

  • cognitive reappraisal.

    • There are different ways you might do this,

    • but one is to try to reinterpret as excitement any feelings of nerves or anxiety

      • (eg, the butterflies in your tummy prior to a party or a networking event) –

      • so find a quiet space in advance of the social challenge and say out loud to yourself: ‘I am excited.’

  • if-then implementation plans,

    • such as: ‘If I am waiting at a bus stop, then I will ask one of the other travellers there how they are.’

    • ‘If I am buying groceries, then I will say hello to the check-out assistant.’

    • ‘If it’s a Tuesday, then I will ask one of my colleagues to join me for a coffee.’

    • ‘If it’s a Saturday and I don’t have plans to go out, then I’ll ring a friend.’

  • consider making a commitment to build your strength and physical fitness, to further increase your confidence and comfort with adventure.

  • Dealing with fears of being inauthentic or faking it

    • It is not fake to choose to change one or more of your personality traits, so that you might live more in tune with your hopes and aspirations in life.

      • Those hopes and desires are a part of you.

    • It’s not as if your personality traits fully encompass who you are as a person –

      • there’s also your values, your passions, morals, tastes and ambitions

  • Bear in mind that you will change anyway –

    • each day, as you learn new things and live through experiences, life is leaving its mark on you.

    • You’re a work in progress and, if anything, seeking to take intentional control over how you mature and evolve is the opposite of inauthenticity –

    • in fact, you’re being true to yourself by bringing about the changes you desire.