CONSUMER CATCH-UP: Travelers, airports, and airlines take coronoavirus precautions, a new bill aims to label 'non-flushable' wipes, and Tinder's new panic button' could be sharing user data

ByMichael Finney and Simone Chavoor via KGO logo
Saturday, January 25, 2020
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CONSUMER CATCH-UP: Travelers, airports, and airlines take coronoavirus precautions, a new bill aims to label 'non-flushable' wipes, and Tinder's new panic button' could be sharing user data

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Airports, airlines take coronavirus cautions as consumers consider the cost of canceling flights

As the coronavirus outbreak continues to spread, travelers, airports, and airlines are taking precautions.

San Francisco International is one of the five airports in the U.S. that will be screening passengers flying from Wuhan, China, for the virus, along with Los Angeles International, John F. Kennedy International, Chicago O'Hare International, and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International.

Two international airlines, Cathay Pacific and China Airlines are cancelling flights and offering refunds to those passengers affected. Technically, you can cancel your flight if you're concerned about the virus -- but it will likely be at your own expense. Travel insurance generally won't cover changes or cancellations in response to fears of the virus; however, you can upgrade your travel insurance to include a "cancel for any reason" clause. Travel health insurance will cover your medical expenses in the event that you actually catch the virus.

For those flying internationally into the area it is recommended to contact your airline for further information.

California could crack down on 'flushable' wipes

Wet wipes or baby wipes, just don't call them flushable.

On Thursday, California legislators advanced an assembly bill that would require personal hygiene or cleaning products that can't be flushed down the toilet, such as baby wipes, to be clearly labeled. AB-1672 would require product packaging to "clearly and conspicuously... communicate that they should not be flushed, as specified."

Many cities, including Sacramento, have seen rising sewage clogs caused by disposable wipes consumers mistake as being flushable. The bill's authors seek to find compromise with industry proponents who deny the wipes damage pipes.

Tinder's new 'panic button' could be sharing personal data with ad-tech companies

While Tinder received kudos earlier this week for releasing its new "panic button" feature, which allows those out on Tinder dates to connect to emergency responders if their situation becomes dangerous, some have expressed concerns that the technology is sharing user data.

RELATED: Tinder launches panic button for date emergencies

In order to use the new "panic button" app, users need to download a separate, free app called Noonlight. But tech blog Gizmodo discovered a "handful of major names in the ad tech space - including Facebook and Google-owned YouTube - gleaning details about the app every minute."

Noonlight's privacy policy points out that gathering data on the user's location, name, phone number, and even health data is useful when trying to work with responders in emergency situations. The policy also states that the app may share information with "our third-party business partners, vendors, and consultants who perform services on our behalf or who help us provide our Services, such as accounting, managerial, technical, marketing, or analytic services."

Noonlight initially denied to Gizmodo that they shared user data with marketing partners. When Gizmodo presented their analysis of the app's network traffic, which confirmed data-gleaning by third parties, Noonlight co-founder Nick Droege responded that the company uses the data "only for understanding standard user attribution and improving internal in-app messaging. The information that a third party receives does not include any personally identifiable data. We do not sell user data to any third parties for marketing or advertising purposes. Noonlight's mission has always been to keep our millions of users safe."

Still, Bennett Cyphers, an Electronic Frontier Foundation technologist, says of the app: "The kinds of people that are gonna be coerced into downloading it are exactly the kind of people that are put most at risk by the data that they're sharing."

Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.