Wielding the Privacy Shield

As smart as they are known to be, human beings have shown that cannot keep themselves from making mistakes. This has been proven quite a few times throughout our history, with each testimony practically forcing us to look for some sort of a defensive cover. We will, however, find that cover only when we bring dedicated regulatory bodies into the fold. Having a well-defined authority across each and every area was a major breakthrough, as it wasted no time in compensating for a lot of our flaws. However, while the said dynamic improved the human life from a general standpoint, it also failed to last very long, and if we are being honest, it all happened because of technology. You see, the moment technology and its layered nature took over the scene; it made everyone more vulnerable than ever before, therefore giving certain people an unprecedented chance to exploit others for their own benefit. This expectantly set us back by a lot, but fortunately enough, we are now witnessing the signs of another power shift. By treating technology like an ally rather than a foe, the regulatory industry is finally making a comeback on the scene. In fact, the stated shift should only get stronger on the back a recent request to FTC.

Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) have written a formal letter to the Federal Trade Commission, requesting to address deceptive practices in the Virtual Private Network (VPN) industry. The decision provides an interesting follow-up to Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe V. Wade, as it largely revolves around helping people, who are seeking abortion, in navigating through the privacy loopholes that are often associated with these VPN services. Eshoo and Wyden went on to back their concerns up by citing a Consumer Reports’ research, which stated 75 percent of the most popular VPNs “misrepresented their products” or made misleading claims, claims that can coax abortion-seeking people into trusting the service only for them to get deceived in the end. Hold on, the evidence gets more damning, as the letter also brought up all the accusations of data misuse against various VPN providers, and “a lack of practical tools or independent research to audit VPN providers’ security claims.”

“With abortion illegal or soon to be illegal in 13 states and severely restricted in many more, these abusive and exploitative data practices are simply unacceptable,” the letter reads. “We urge the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to take immediate action… to curtail abusive and deceptive data practices in companies providing VPN services to protect internet users seeking abortions.”

Beyond the primary measures, the letter requested FTC to put-together a detailed online brochure that educates abortion-seekers about online privacy, while also offering a lowdown on the risk and benefits of using a VPN.

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