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(Feb 5, 2016) Much of the setting of Cory Doctorow’s dystopian novel Little Brother takes place in a San Francisco under complete and total lockdown. The city has been attacked by terrorists, the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge is history, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has taken over. Perhaps previously the liberal bastion of the U.S., Doctorow’s San Francisco has now shifted to a surveillance state. Luckily, no such event has hit the beautiful West Coast city. Yet, with the NFL in town to ce... Read More

Privacy Perspectives

Algorithmic transparency: Examining from within and without

(Jan 28, 2016) As the volume of consumer data grows, an increasing number of decisions previously made by humans are now made by algorithms. The number of data sources have multiplied, and so too have the types of data and the number of entities keeping and crunching it. The past two years have brought continuous policy discussion around the benefits and challenges that accompany this growing use of big data analytics. The White House and the Federal Trade Commission released reports on big data and data brok... Read More

Privacy Perspectives

How your legal background may work against you

(Jan 22, 2016) This post is sure to be controversial and raise hackles among some readers. It is not meant to disparage lawyers or even privacy professionals but rather identify a gap between them. Many legal professionals enter the privacy profession, not as a result of personal interest in the topic, but rather through career paths that had them addressing organizational compliance with laws categorized as “privacy” or “data protection.” This isn’t a bad thing. Organizations need to comply with the complex ... Read More

Privacy Perspectives

Will two privacy cops on the same block be one too many?

(Jan 21, 2016) Late last year in Washington something of consequence happened: Two federal agencies decided to jointly regulate consumer privacy issues. And just this week, dozens of consumer and privacy advocates are pushing one of those agencies – the Federal Communications Commission - to vigorously enforce consumer privacy rights. Given the turf-conscious nature of Washington, the success of last year's unusual agreement is deserving of critical review. There are high stakes for American consumers who exp... Read More

Privacy Perspectives

Creating a risk-aware culture through built-in privacy

(Jan 19, 2016) The security and privacy communities are slowly converging – once focused on their own interests, they have begun to align behind an increasingly unified approach to information protection. Last year’s Privacy. Security. Risk. 2015 conference, run jointly by IAPP and CSA Congress, serves as one of many examples to illustrate this convergence. One of the drivers of this can be traced back to Privacy by Design. A distinct school of thought with clear organizing principles, PbD ran parallel to “se... Read More

Privacy Perspectives

Pew demonstrates organizations need privacy pros more than ever

(Jan 14, 2016) Though privacy pros work in drastically different industries, with vastly different constituencies and information collection practices, a common thread that intersects the profession is that privacy is contextual. Defining privacy and what constitutes personally identifiable information is constantly being discussed and debated — even today at the FTC's PrivacyCon event. Businesses trying to push the envelope with new innovations are often nudging the privacy line to new, sometimes controversia... Read More

Privacy Perspectives

David Bowie just proved that privacy is not dead

(Jan 12, 2016) Like the rest of the world, I woke up Monday morning to news that David Bowie had died. A cultural icon that transcended music, fashion, movies and art, Bowie – love him or hate him – was instantly recognizable and a top-tier celebrity beloved by millions around the world. You'd think that keeping his battle with a terminal disease out of the public eye would be next to impossible for a person of his stature. And yet no one knew. I had been talking about him with friends and colleagues over th... Read More

Privacy Perspectives

Maybe 2016: A Not-So-Serious Look at the Year to Come in Privacy

(Dec 23, 2015) As was noted last week, 2015 was a hell of a year for privacy. It fired off a U.S. president visiting the Federal Trade Commission for the first time in 60 years to talk privacy and ended with the culmination of a historic piece of legislation in the EU that many had begun to despair would ever come to completion. But it sorta feels like 2015 was only a prelude, no? All of this privacy froth can only portend even more privacy substance. So, we thought it would be worthwhile to think back to th... Read More

Privacy Perspectives

Appealing to the Consumer Through Privacy Policies

(Dec 22, 2015) With increased media coverage of privacy policies, consumers have become increasingly aware of privacy issues involving data collection. Ironically, some revamped privacy policies detailing exactly what data is collected, and how it is used, have spurred more outrage than praise. Even if a company does not run afoul of Section 5 of the FTC Act, the language and format of its privacy policies may still turn consumers away from its products and services.            For example, Microsoft's Wind... Read More

Privacy Perspectives

Why 2015 Was a Historic Year for Privacy

(Dec 18, 2015) The year 2015 may well go down as one of the most important years in the history of privacy and data protection. True, it feels like we say this every year: Another watershed year for privacy. But 2015 has been dramatic, significant and groundbreaking for privacy pros. And for many reasons. Let’s put it this way, the hack of 80 million Anthem users, the appointment of a new European Data Protection Supervisor and the passing of major new U.S. surveillance reform are but footnotes in this yearly ... Read More

Privacy Perspectives