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(Feb 24, 2017) Another tragedy, another listicle of victims, another knot in my stomach. Since I’ve become a privacy professional, something about them just doesn’t **feel** right. Maybe you know what I’m talking about. If you don’t, context: news organizations like Buzzfeed have taken to publishing a list of victims after a newsworthy tragedy. They have been for years, unquestioned. There’s one for the San Bernardino shootings, the Pulse Nightclub massacre, the Bataclan terrorist attacks in Paris, the murder... Read More

Privacy Perspectives

The five big data stages of adjustment to the GDPR

(Feb 23, 2017) On January 31, I took part in an IAPP-hosted webinar on managing risk and big data analytics under the EU's General Data Protection Regulation alongside Gwendal Le Grand, the Director of Technology and Innovation at the CNIL, France's data protection authority, and Mike Hintze, former Microsoft chief privacy counsel and now partner at Hintze Law.  Based on interactions with companies and regulators following the webinar, we found that companies are at varying stages of adjustment to the upcomin... Read More

Privacy Perspectives

Seatbelts, everyone: Netflix's 'Magic School Bus' reboot to tackle privacy

(Feb 14, 2017) ... and I couldn't be more pumped if I tried.  But before I vomit enthusiasm, I will address those amongst us scratching their heads.  The "Magic School Bus" is a beloved book-series-turned-PBS-show that chronicles the adventures of Ms. Frizzle (played by the goddess that is Lily Tomlin), the ultimate kooky aunt, and her class of budding nerds as they explore science with the aid of their (#plottwist) anthropomorphic magic school bus. It can shrink, take the class to the rainforest, go underwa... Read More

Privacy Perspectives

In Jessica Rich, FTC loses cornerstone of privacy program

(Feb 8, 2017) In 1890, Warren and Brandeis asserted privacy as a legal right, a right to be let alone. In 1960, William Prosser introduced the privacy torts: intrusion, public disclosure, false light, and appropriation. Since the 1990s, the Federal Trade Commission has established privacy and data security as a new regulatory area, through dozens of enforcement actions — which scholars have called “a new common law of privacy” — policy reports, and research workshops. Throughout this period, spanning three d... Read More

Privacy Perspectives

This pacemaker just incriminated its owner

(Feb 7, 2017) In the privacy world, we often talk about trade-offs: the trade-off between privacy and convenience, or privacy and security. But what about privacy and life, itself? What if the technology that helps keep you alive also spies on you? Would you still use it? Is that even fair? Or legal? For some people, this life-and-death trade-off is already a reality. Take the case of Ross Compton, for example. The Middletown, Ohio, resident has been indicted on felony charges for aggravated arson for allege... Read More

Privacy Perspectives

Why the Pats are the Privacy Pro's pick

(Feb 3, 2017) Perhaps you don't have a favorite team playing in the Super Bowl. Of course, it's no fun watching without a rooting interest. You're wondering to yourself, "Hmmm, who am I going to root for here?"  Let me help you with that. It's quite clear that the New England Patriots are the privacy professional's pick.  But, but, but, you say, what about Spygate! They're cheaters and engage in covert surveillance and whatnot! Marshall Faulk told me so! Let's revisit that just for a bit, shall we? The tap... Read More

Privacy Perspectives

How other people’s data breaches can help you

(Jan 27, 2017) Today, breaches continue unabated at the same alarming rate to which we’ve grown accustomed. More than 2 billion records were exposed in 2016 alone and that’s only counting those we know about. The real figure will rise far higher. The rate of these data leaks is so frequent that it is hard to track how exposed you are. Can any credentials in these breaches be used against your company? How can you find out? Why should you even check?  Two issues are at play here. The first is password reuse. ... Read More

Privacy Perspectives

Why tech companies don’t need to stymie democratic governments

(Jan 26, 2017) In a recent Privacy Tracker update on the European Commission’s newly proposed ePrivacy Regulation, Jan Philipp Albrecht, the member of European Parliament in charge of steering through the GDPR last year, was quoted as saying, “We know that intelligence agencies are applying blanket data collection and service providers should respond by doing everything technically possible to secure the fundamental right of privacy.” As someone who’s worked in and with U.S. and international intelligence age... Read More

Privacy Perspectives

With Ramirez, FTC became the Federal Technology Commission

(Jan 18, 2017) Chris Hoofnagle begins his book, Federal Trade Commission: Privacy Law and Policy, asking “How did a small, independent antitrust agency come to be among the most important forces in consumer protection and privacy law?” The FTC was created in 1914 primarily as a “trust buster,” in reaction to the excesses of corporate America at the turn of the 20th century, with its emerging class of “robber barons.” Today, as the U.S. economy shifts from energy and manufacturing to software and online servic... Read More

Privacy Perspectives

If 2015 was historic for privacy, then 2016 was pivotal

(Dec 23, 2016) Nearly a year ago to the day, I described 2015 as a historic year for privacy. It ended on a high as Europe passed what may be the most significant privacy legislation on earth, capping a year that included the invalidation of Safe Harbor, the Anthem, Ashley Madison, and OPM breaches, and the naming of a new European Data Protection Supervisor.  In contrast, by year's end, 2016 has felt transitional; a pivot between accomplishment and the unknown. Which isn't to sound pessimistic at all. True, ... Read More

Privacy Perspectives