New Yorkers Urged to Visit www.NY.Gov/DataPrivacySurvey to Participate in Statewide Data Privacy Conversation
Survey Part of NYS Investigation into Reports That Facebook is Secretly Accessing Personal User Information
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the New York State Division of Consumer Protection has launched a data privacy consumer survey to give New Yorkers the opportunity to weigh in on data privacy issues and inform policymaking. This initiative follows and is in conjunction with the Governor's call in February for the New York Department of State, in partnership with the New York State Department of Financial Services and other state agencies, to investigate reports that Facebook is secretly accessing personal information of users.
"In the Digital Age nearly every New Yorker has an online presence and consumers are an important resource for identifying ways to make the internet safer," Governor Cuomo said. "This survey will provide policymakers with important insight into data privacy issues that will inform our efforts to create effective policy that prevents online companies from misusing or abusing personal data."
The new survey asks respondents about the number of smart devices in each household, the operating systems being used, and whether they know how to access privacy settings on social media, apps and Internet browsers. It also asks consumers to describe the types of personal information they believe is being collected, stored or sold by social media outlets, apps and/or browsers; any specific experiences or concerns regarding the collection or sharing of such information without permission; and what future data privacy consumer protections would make the consumer feel safe.
New York Secretary of State Rossana Rosado, who oversees the Division of Consumer Protection, said, "As our investigation into online data privacy continues, this survey will provide needed feedback to gauge how our policies and regulations should evolve. I urge everyone to take a few minutes to fill out the survey so that we can better understand New Yorkers' everyday personal privacy concerns."
The results of the survey will be used to inform New York State's policies regarding the online marketplace and social media, including possible new laws and regulations. The survey follows the Governor's recent announcement of a consumer education initiative for the digital age, including analyses of the privacy policies of popular applications.
The Division of Consumer Protection also urges all New Yorkers to "Know Your Settings" so that they are aware of what information is collected by devices, social media platforms, apps and software, and for what purpose.
The Division of Consumer Protection's Consumer Helpline is 800-697-1220, available Monday to Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Consumer complaints can be filed at any time via the Division's website. The Division can also be reached via Twitter at @NYSConsumer or Facebook at www.facebook.com/nysconsumer.
Senator Diane Savino said, "The digital marketplace brings with it opportunities and pitfalls - especially with recent reports about services sharing personal information without the user's permission. All New Yorkers who use mobile devices or social networking should take a few moments to fill out this survey so that we are armed with the best possible information in creating new protections for consumers."
Senator Kevin Thomas said, "I applaud Governor Cuomo and the Division of Consumer Protection for taking a hard look at privacy policies for popular online companies. By hearing directly from New Yorkers about their online practices, we can develop and enact rules and regulations that strengthen consumer protections."
Assembly Member Michael DenDekker said, "As Chair of the Assembly Committee on Consumer Affairs and Protection, I invite all New Yorkers to participate in the data privacy survey. With the omnipresent threat of security breaches, it is critical that we craft legislation that would safely guard the private information of all New Yorkers; this survey will help us achieve that end."