Lab notes: November 2020

Here’s what we’ve been up to this month at the Digital Lab. Hope everyone has a happy and safe Thanksgiving!

California voters strengthen data privacy protections

  • In a win for consumer privacy, CR-supported Proposition 24 was approved by voters in California earlier this month. The ballot measure will strengthen the existing California Consumer Privacy Act by closing loopholes that many of the biggest companies have exploited to continue delivering targeted advertising outside of the opt-out of sale, and removing a provision, known as the “right to cure,” that undermines enforcement of the law.

Free virtual screening of Coded Bias

  • Consumer Reports invites you to a free online screening ofCoded Bias, a trailblazing documentary that sheds light on the threats artificial intelligence poses to civil rights and democracy. The film, which premiered at Sundance this year, follows MIT researcher Joy Buolamwini and others uncovering how machine-learning algorithms can perpetuate society’s existing class-, race- and gender-based inequities. CR has partnered with Girls Who Code, Girl Scouts, Media Justice, Color of Change, National Hispanic Media Coalition, Free Press and Fight for the Future to make the film free to watch online between now and December 14th. You can register to view the documentary here, and stay tuned for details on a virtual panel discussion with director Shalini Kantayya on December 14th.

Consumer Reports welcomes DOJ’s lawsuit against Visa and Plaid

  • Consumer Reports spoke out against Visa’s proposed $5.3 billion acquisition of financial services company Plaid. Sumit Sharma, senior researcher for tech competition says: “We welcome the Justice Department’s suit to block Visa’s acquisition of an emerging competitor challenging Visa. With the rise of e-commerce and remote payments, there is no doubt that consumers would benefit from further innovations and competition that reduce transaction costs and introduce new payment mechanisms.”

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