[Issue 086] What IS Data Privacy?


Happy Beychella week!!!! 

As you probably know by now, Beyonce dropped her Coachella documentary on Netflix this week and blessed us all. Sadly I have yet to watch the 137 minute documentary because I've been working and filling my free time with my usual podcasts and news sources.

And the topic that I can't get off my mind this week just happens to be Data Privacy: What is it and do we even have it?

That's the question asked on the last episode of the podcast series, Breach. All six episodes this season were dedicated to breaking down the historical context and severity of the Equifax data breach. (I highly recommend it.)

Two experts in the episode share their personal definitions of data privacy:

  • No one has my data except people that really protect it, and they consult with me before they share it.

  • I get to decide who has it, when they have it and what they do with it.

Their conclusion is that we've actually never had data privacy in the US. We currently have no say over the collection and use of most of our data.


I've spent a lot of time thinking about data privacy, especially in a smart home, 23andme, artificial intelligence world. Even beyond data breaches, we choose to have our data collected and shared every single day.

This short, interactive and super accessible piece in the New York Times is a must-see for anyone who aims to be more informed consumers of technology: It's Time to Panic About Privacy.

I have to be honest here: I have zero idea what the solutions are. I personally took a long time before deciding to buy my first smart home device because, as a tech employee, I'm definitely weary of the long-term impact of such a decision. 

Ultimately, I decided that I want the conveniences that such devices offer. Only time will tell if I have made the wrong choice.



Meet the woman who sued Equifax, and won.


She was one of more than 145 million Americans whose financial information was exposed in the data breach. Most of us got an apology and free credit monitoring, but Ms. Bernstein and a few others found a way to get compensated: Take the corporate giant to small claims court. // NYTIMES


Dalio Says Capitalism’s Income Inequality Is National Emergency. Dalio, who founded the world’s biggest hedge fund, has recently expressed concern over the typical American dream. He says that capitalism must be reformed, as it currently does not produce enough opportunities, jobs, and income for most Americans, which has lead to an increase in the income gap. He argues that such conditions lead to conflict and intense economic downturn. In this article, Dalio discusses what he believes the president should do and provides information on the current income gap. // BLOOMBERG

Live footage of me giving a hedge fund manager a gold star for caring about capitalism.

Live footage of me giving a hedge fund manager a gold star for caring about capitalism.


Microsoft Is Overhauling How It Investigates HR Disputes. In the past few months, Microsoft employees have begun complaining to executives that workplace harassment, discrimination, and other problems have remained unchecked throughout the company. In response, Microsoft sent a letter to all employees saying that they will be making changes to how Microsoft’s human resources department investigates these issues, and will create a new team within HR called the “Employee Advocacy Team”. // QUARTZ

Easter Creates Tons of Plastic Trash- Here’s How To Celebrate Sustainably. This article points out the immense level of waste that traditional Easter celebrations create, through fake plastic grass, plastic eggs, candy wrappers, and cheap plastic toys that end up in landfills. With a reported 85% of Americans planning on celebrating the holiday, this adds up to a lot of waste. Dig in for sustainable options, like using wooden or paper eggs, reusing plastic eggs, subbing plastic toys for more sustainable or practical toys, and using biodegradable decorative grass. // FAST COMPANY

Exclusive: 60 Quartz Employees Are Unionizing With the NewsGuild. Quartz U.S. editorial staff, a group of 60 employees, have recently announced that they will be joining the news and media union NewsGuild. They have reportedly been working on joining the union for the past 2 years, and management has begun a “voluntary recognition process.” // FAST COMPANY

Gun Control Group’s Report Card on U.S. Banks’ Firearms Ties Has Several Fs. An advocacy group for fun control, Guns Down America, has started putting pressure on and releasing information about consumer banks that provide loans or other forms of funding to the gun industry. They have created a ranking system with letter grades for banks, based on their ties to firearms producers and trade groups, like the NRA. The highest grade earned, a B, was by Citigroup, and 6 of the 15 banks reviewed, including JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo, failed. // NY TIMES

As Hollywood Embraces Diversity, Jobs for Female Directors Remain Sparse. Recently, Hollywood has started to become more diverse in front of the screen. However, while many movies featuring a diverse cast and subject matters, the people directing them and working behind the scenes are not getting the same attention. The disconnect is in part due to consumers responding favorably to diverse casts and stories, however, not many consumers pay attention to the diversity of the director and filmmakers. Examples of the disconnect include Warner Bros’ 15 movies created for CinemaCon, with only 3 having women directors, and Universal Studios also making 15 movies, with only 4 women directors. // NY TIMES


⟶ A follow-up piece: Read how Mother Queen Ava (Nikita's titles for her) is changing the game in Hollywood by hiring only female directors for Queen Sugar (many of whom had zero experience with episodic TV). Our fave quote from her: "I invite you to tell whoever is feeling discriminated against to sue me so that I can sue every studio that has left women out." // WASHINGTON POST

Everlane’s Founder Vowed To Remove All New Plastic From The Brand’s Supply Chain By 2021. Now He Has To Figure Out How. Everlane, a clothing company that has made strides in changing the sustainability of the fashion industry, has recently announced that they will remove the use of virgin plastics from its supply chain by 2021. Within the company, office managers have stopped stocking the kitchen with grab and go snacks encased in virgin plastic, and many employees involved in product quality assurance have had to scour their items for plastic, and create lists on what to retrofit or change to remove the virgin plastics and replace it with recycled plastics, or other materials. // FAST COMPANY

Danone North America’s CEO Wants to Lead a B Corp Movement. Danone, a food company known for their yogurt, has been the world’s largest certified B Corp for the past year. However, CEO Mariano Lozano has started to raise awareness of this fact in an effort to encourage other, bigger companies to “dethrone” them from the top, so that more companies follow the sustainable business practices of B Corps. // TRIPLE PUNDIT

United Becomes First Airline to Add Gender Identifications For Non-Binary Flyers. United Airlines has become the first airline to offer options besides the binary, only male/female gender options. They will be adding options U, for undisclosed, X for unspecified, and also will begin offering the option for the title of Mx, instead of Mr, Ms, and Mrs. // SKIFT

This week's headlines were curated by ABL's undeniably badass intern, Lora.


“Privacy has been dead for years, and consumers need to worry about that and do something.”

Avivah Litan

Nikita T. Mitchell