This Week in Data – March 13

This Week in Data – March 13:

Each week, we compile the best stories in data. Get up to speed on this week in data, without having to search for it.


Australia sues Facebook over political profiling

It’s getting angry down under! The Australian privacy regulator is suing Facebook over allegedly selling information to Cambridge Analytica for the purposes of political profiling. This isn’t the first time Facebook has been sued for activities that occurred during and around the 2016 election, but the fact Australia is getting involved just underscores how much elections in the United States are now a global affair.


“The design of the Facebook platform meant that users were unable to exercise reasonable choice and control about how their personal information was disclosed.”


Travel groups agree to massive data exchange

Man, the EU is killing it lately when it comes to data agreements. Now travel companies Airbnb, Expedia and Tripadvisor have all agreed to share data with Europe. Basically, regulators want all the information to get a better idea of what the market for short-term rentals is like. But this also comes as the EU is hoping to develop a single data market…


“The short-term rental sector hopes that data sharing will contribute to more complete statistics on tourist accommodation around Europe, allow public authorities to better understand the development of the collaborative economy and support evidence-based policies…”


It’s easier to share data with your doctor

…if you’re in the United States, that is. New rules announced earlier this week will make it easier for doctors and medical organizations to share information. That’s mostly because the information now has to be recorded in a universal standard. The ultimate benefit is that people will be able to house all the information they have in various hospitals and doctors’ offices in a single smartphone app, for instance. That’s pretty cool.

But don’t get complacent. Privacy hawks are still watching this one closely.


“As patients begin more easily offering up their health data to apps, they will be navigating a complicated privacy dynamic. The main federal law that protects health data, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, applies to physicians and health-care companies, as well as third parties that work with them, such as the technology firms with which hospitals share data.”


The internet is full of secrets

Whisper, the anonymous secret sharing app, left sensitive data accessible for years. Years! That’s according to a new report, which states that even users under the age of 15 were searchable in a database. The database itself has more than 900 million records, which…is a lot. Look, leaks happen all the time. But given the sensitive information of minors included here, it isn’t a great look. Yet another reminder that society needs to do more to protect young internet users – and their data. 


“MediaLab is disputing the researchers’ findings, saying the information was meant to be public-facing and provided by the users themselves as a feature of the app. In particular, location sharing was designed to add authenticity to posts in which someone’s location or status, like an active military member, was relevant.”


That’s our wrap for this week. Thanks for reading – we hope you found it entertaining and informative. We’d love to hear your thoughts on these articles and anything else data related!

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Until next week,

Team Data Republic

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