By Consumer Reports
Join with us to make a safer, fairer, healthier marketplace.
Protecting Your Private Life
Consumers are constantly being tracked by digital surveillance, online and off. The information collected gets bundled into detailed dossiers of our most personal characteristics, including health conditions, political views, and sexual preferences, and then is sold to companies that use it to target advertising and build opaque algorithms that can determine things like whether or not you’ll be offered reasonably priced insurance.
In response, CR has been fighting state by state to give consumers more control over their personal data—and in April, Connecticut became the fifth state (after California, Virginia, Colorado, and Utah) to extend privacy rights to consumers.
Based in part on model legislation developed by CR, and the result of more than a year of collaboration between our advocates and state lawmakers, the Connecticut law gives consumers the right to access, correct, delete, and stop the sale of their personal data. And it contains several important provisions that have been missing from other state privacy laws, including a requirement that companies honor browser privacy signals, so consumers can opt out of all data sales in a single step; a prohibition against “dark pattern” user interfaces that can deceive consumers into sharing more personal data than they intend; and strong rules for safeguarding consumer data.
CR Call to Action
Last year, a U.S. Supreme Court ruling eliminated the authority of the Federal Trade Commission to go to court to seek monetary damages from perpetrators of fraud, illegal scams, and other deceptive practices. For decades, the FTC had used that authority to strip wrongdoers of ill-gotten gains and to then refund victims—to the tune of $11.2 billion since October 2016. So CR organized a coalition letter urging key legislators to back the Consumer Protection Remedies Act, which would restore the FTC’s authority. You can support the bill by contacting your senators at Senate.gov.
Making Infant Sleep Safer
What’s at stake: Parents need to be able to trust that the baby products they find on sale are safe.
Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Two dangerous categories of infant sleep products—inclined sleepers and crib bumper pads—have been linked to nearly 200 deaths.
How CR has your back: CR has long worked to expose the problem of unsafe infant sleep products, and rid the market of them. Since 2019, our investigations have linked inclined sleepers, such as the Fisher-Price Rock ’n Play, to at least 94 deaths, and in-bed sleepers to 12 more. These revelations helped prompt the Consumer Product Safety Commission, in 2021, to issue a rule prohibiting certain products that don’t align with expert safe sleep recommendations. The rule took effect June 23, 2022.
Some members of Congress, determined to prevent future infant deaths, also wanted to take action—and to include crib bumpers, which hadn’t yet been addressed by the CPSC. The result was the CR-endorsed Safe Sleep for Babies Act, a bill to fully ban both inclined sleepers and crib bumpers. The bill passed the House last year, and was approved in the Senate and signed by President Joe Biden in May. It will soon be illegal for anyone to manufacture or sell these dangerous products.
What you can do: Make sure infants sleep alone, on their backs, on a firm, flat surface in a crib, bassinet, or play yard, with no extra padding or loose objects like blankets, pillows, or toys. And read CR’s Guide to a Safe and Sound Baby Nursery for more safe infant-sleeping tips.
Editor’s Note: This article also appeared in the August 2022 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.
Consumer Reports is an independent, nonprofit organization that works side by side with consumers to create a fairer, safer, and healthier world. CR does not endorse products or services, and does not accept advertising. Copyright © 2022, Consumer Reports, Inc.