The Future of Privacy

Lee Rainie and Janna Anderson, Pew Research,  Thursday, December 18, 2014

An information science professional responded, “Individuals are willing to give up privacy for the reasons of ease, fastness, and convenience… If anything, consumer tracking will increase, and almost all data entered online will be considered ‘fair game’ for purposes of analytics and producing ‘user-driven’ ads. Privacy is an archaic term when used in reference to depositing information online.

Wanted: An International Rule of Law for Cloud Data

Michael Chertoff by Michael Chertoff, Chertoff Group
Thursday, December 18, 2014

If we don’t figure out a new way of resolving legal conflicts, the universal Web as we know it may soon be Balkanized. Global companies will be subject to competing and inconsistent legal demands—one country may require disclosure of information that another country prohibits from being disclosed. The inevitable result will be that consumers suffer diminished access to the network overall. Decisions companies make about the location of their servers and hardware will be driven by legal gamesmanship rather than by technological or infrastructure considerations. The current free-for-all of competing nations needs to be replaced with an agreed-upon international system for newly designed choice-of-law rules for data in the Internet cloud. Such rules determine which country’s law governs in a dispute, as when we try to decide whose law governs a contract for the sale of goods. We need to harmonize existing rules in a framework of law for the cyber age.

Should privacy regulation be more than just data protection?

Inga Kroener, The Guardian,  Wednesday, December 17, 2014

To get to grips with the surveillance risks that emergent technologies carry, policymakers need to broaden their scope of what privacy is. Rather than solely focusing on data, impact assessments need to address the range of privacy issues that emerge when new technologies, products and services are developed – who might be affected by privacy or surveillance risks, and how they might be harmed.

Privacy in a Time of Emerging Tech

Elaine Pittman, Government Technology,  Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Clearly the issue of privacy isn’t going away, as government and industry introduce new data-driven technologies. But what will change is the definition of privacy for citizens and how rules will govern data protection. Legislatures and IT chiefs will once again take up the issue in 2015, seeking ways to protect data and harness it for a smarter future.

Tech, media firms back Microsoft in digital privacy case

Ellen Nakashima, Washington Post,  Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Ten groups of top technology, media and business organizations on Monday filed legal briefs in support of Microsoft’s argument to a federal appeals court that the U.S. government cannot issue a search warrant to obtain customers’ e-mails held in another country. The unusually high number of friend-of-the-court briefs and the breadth of groups that signed on reflect how significant the issue of privacy in the digital age is to U.S. industry. “This is not a case about a narrow legal issue but rather a broad policy issue that is of profound importance to the future of the Internet,” Brad Smith, Microsoft general counsel, said in an interview Monday.

How Microsoft’s battle with the Justice Department could reshape privacy laws (+video)

Jaikumar Vijayan, Christian Science Monitor,  Tuesday, December 16, 2014

“Seldom has a case below the Supreme Court attracted the breadth and depth of legal involvement we’re seeing today,” Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith said Monday. “This case involves not a narrow legal question, but a broad policy issue that is fundamental to the future of global technology.” It is a position that has garnered widespread support from a variety of quarters. On Monday, a coalition of 28 leading technology companies, 35 computer scientists, and 23 trade associates filed a total of 10 amicus briefs in support of Microsoft. Among the companies throwing their legal weight behind Microsoft are AT&T Inc., Verizon Communications Inc., Cisco Systems Inc., and Apple Inc.

Microsoft Takes on U.S. Government in Fight to Protect Consumers' Private Data

Shirley Brady, Brand Channel,  Monday, December 15, 2014

As consumers are increasingly aware how fragile their personal data is in the wake of hacks including Sony's current meltdown, Microsoft is backing a call for a new digital privacy law in the U.S.—and refusing to turn over private emails from its Irish data center to the U.S. government General counsel Brad Smith spoke out today in Washington for citizens' right to privacy of their data and the right for citizens' emails and other digital information to be protected by companies and the government, whether stored in the U.S., internationally or in the cloud. Microsoft is fighting the U.S. Justice Department over a warrant for data stored on a server in Ireland, and today noted in a blog post that the court has received supporting amicus briefs filed by other tech companies supporting its move, including Verizon, Apple, Amazon, Cisco, Salesforce, HP, eBay, Infor, AT&T, and Rackspace.

French researchers find that Android apps exploit permissions

Peter Sayer, PCWorld,  Monday, December 15, 2014

Android apps really do use those permissions they ask for to access users’ personal information. French researchers found that one online store records a phone’s location up to 10 times a minute. The tools to manage such access are limited, and inadequate given how much information phones can gather. In a recent study, ten volunteers used Android phones that tracked app behavior using a monitoring app, Mobilitics, developed by the French National Institute for Informatics Research (INRIA) in conjunction with the National Commission on Computing and Liberty (CNIL).

Getting a Grip on Europe’s Concerns about Google

ICOMP,  Thursday, December 11, 2014

But it is irresponsible to try and make the Google case seem wider than it actually is. Google is being held to the same standards as other companies operating in Europe. There is no vendetta and no bias against US companies. The EU has adopted the Digital Agenda as a flagship policy. In that context there is a perfectly proper democratic debate taking place as to the best ways in which to apply existing laws to the digital economy, and to have a public discussion as to whether and, if so, in what ways to adapt the existing legislative framework to the needs of that economy.

Dancing around data

Maurice Stucke and Allen Grunes, The Hill,  Wednesday, December 10, 2014

A recent Pew study found that ninety-one percent of Americans say that they have “lost control” over how their personal information is collected or used by companies. Given that privacy trade-offs are so clearly a concern for the vast majority of Americans, it’s strange that there are no viable alternatives to the Internet giants that provide services free of charge, but at a heavy cost to our privacy. So why is it that the market has not responded to the privacy concerns that are so prevalent among American consumers? One major reason is that our own antitrust authorities are not looking at the amassing of data. Privacy and competition issues shouldn’t neatly fall into distinct compartments – but most enforcers have blithely left them there.