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Social media giants urged to tackle data-scraping privacy risks

Tech Crunch: “A joint statement signed by regulators at a dozen international privacy watchdogs, including the U.K.’s ICO, Canada’s OPC and Hong Kong’s OPCPD, has urged mainstream social media platforms to protect users’ public posts from scraping — warning they face a legal responsibility to do so in most markets. “In most jurisdictions, personal information that is ‘publicly available’, ‘publicly accessible’ or ‘of a public nature’ on the internet, is subject to data protection and privacy laws,” they write. “Individuals and companies that scrape such personal information are therefore responsible for ensuring that they comply with these and other applicable laws. However, social media companies and the operators of other websites that host publicly accessible personal information (SMCs and other websites) also have data protection obligations with respect to third-party scraping from their sites. These obligations will generally apply to personal information whether that information is publicly accessible or not. Mass data scraping of personal information can constitute a reportable data breach in many jurisdictions.” The timing of the statement, which was also signed by privacy regulators in Australia, Switzerland, Norway, New Zealand, Colombia, Jersey, Morocco, Argentina and Mexico — who are all members of the Global Privacy Assembly’s international enforcement cooperation working group — coincides with the ongoing hype around generative AI models which typically require large amounts of data for training and could encourage more entities to scrape the Internet in a bid to acquire data-sets jump on the generative AI bandwagon…”

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