DETROIT – In this day and age, we are more exposed than ever to cyber threats, including phishing, identity theft, shadow profiles, and hackers to name a few. Most of this is due to the fact that there are thousands of “data brokers” in America that collect, analyze, and sell your data for a profit.
Americans have the right to request each data broker remove their personal information from their databases. However, while the manual process is long and uncertain data removal services are able to opt-out of hundreds of data brokers on their users’ behalf, strengthening their protection against, hackers, shadow figures, and cyber attacks.
In addition to this, if you live in Michigan and you’re concerned about data privacy, you may be keen to discover the extent of data protection in the state. So which resources are available in Michigan?
Data security: what laws protect you?
Michigan currently has no general data privacy act; however, the state does have its own requirements to adhere to, known as the Data Breach Requirements, which fall under the Identity Theft Protection Act.
According to these requirements, it is necessary for residents of Michigan to be alerted to a breach involving their sensitive information. This includes the acquisition of their data by “an unauthorized person” and also applies if the key to their encrypted data has been discovered by someone who has no right to access it.
Other related laws in the state include the Insurance Data Security Model Law, passed at the beginning of 2020; according to this law, licensed insurers are required to “develop, implement, and maintain a comprehensive information security program”.
Placing an emphasis on privacy in Michigan
Although there may be no general data privacy laws in Michigan, the state’s own governor, Gretchen Whitmer, made her feelings about data security very clear at the end of August 2022. She sent a letter to those in power at five of the biggest tech companies in the US: Meta, Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet, and Amazon.
In this letter, she called upon these tech giants to keep the personal information of citizens secure – particularly health information, which has been accessed by anti-abortion activists in other states to target women and healthcare professionals. She also called upon these companies to be more open about what kinds of data they are sharing, and whom they are sharing it with.
“Every Michigander deserves privacy and control over their data, which includes so much personal information about our health, habits, and lives,” stated Governor Whitmet. “We know the risks of someone getting access to our data. If it fell into the wrong hands, our digital footprint could tell someone where we are, who we were with, what we bought—even intimate details about our health. Without adequate protection, that data could be used to go after women seeking reproductive health care or to prosecute nurses and doctors for doing their jobs. Amid an ongoing assault on women’s bodily autonomy by extremists who do not hesitate to use location and health data to target Michiganders, we must do more to protect everyone’s fundamental right to privacy.”
In her letter, Whitmer also declared, “As custodians of our most sensitive data, Apple, Alphabet, Amazon, Meta, and Microsoft have a responsibility to protect their customers and their privacy”.
Is the time for reform at hand?
While one of Whitmer’s main aims with this particular letter is to safeguard the reproductive freedom of women, her emphasis on data privacy is sure to be appreciated by various sectors of Michigan society – if not all. It remains to be seen what response her letter will prompt, but perhaps Michigan’s data privacy regulations will be strengthened still further in the coming months and years if Whitmer has her way.
This article was provided by Luke Windsor
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