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Facebook’s self-proclaimed pivot to privacy is off to a poor start. The company disclosed last week that it had exposed hundreds of millions of users’ passwords to its employees in plain text. The mishap, a question of carelessness rather than third-party sharing, is a reminder that the data debate is as much about protection as it is about privacy. Lawmakers’ trickiest task in forging a privacy framework will be to balance companies’ legitimate interests with consumers’ rights to keep their personal information to themselves. This question is easier: There is no legitimate reason that companies should leave data unguarded from unauthorized access. Congress should make that clear.
When the Supreme Court almost certainly overrules Auer in its Kisor opinion, it’s unlikely to be upfront about the shifting political winds that brought it to that decision.
The Trump administration is moving ahead with its proposal to require drug companies to disclose the often sky-high prices of their products in television commercials, despite strenuous objections and the threat of legal challenges by drug makers and TV broadcasters. The White House is reviewing the text of a final rule to impose the requirement, contending that the disclosures “will provide manufacturers with an incentive to reduce their list prices by exposing overly costly drugs to public scrutiny.”
The consumer group Public Citizen is calling on the Food and Drug Administration to issue a moratorium on new opioid-painkiller approvals, calling their message an “urgent request” in the name of public safety. In a letter to FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb and his boss, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, the group said that, in addition to the drug industry itself, “it is beyond question that the FDA is also culpable.” The letter was signed by Sidney M. Wolfe, founder and senior adviser to Public Citizen’s Health Research Group, and Raeford E. Brown Jr., a University of Kentucky professor who is chairman of the FDA’s advisory committee on pain products. Their letter was accompanied by a petition to the federal agency to issue the moratorium. The FDA said it would respond directly to the petitioners.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ attempts to swiftly roll back major Obama-era policies at her agency are hitting a roadblock: federal courts. Judges have rebuffed DeVos’ attempts to change Obama policies dealing with everything from student loan forgiveness to mandatory arbitration agreements to racial disparities in special education programs. As a result, the Education Department is being forced to carry out Obama-era policies that the Trump administration had been fighting to stop — stymying DeVos’ efforts to quickly impose a conservative imprint on federal education policy over the past two years.