U.S. Cloud Providers Face Backlash From China’s Censors

Eva Dou and Alistair Barr, Wall Street Journal,  Monday, March 16, 2015

U.S. tech companies are caught in the middle of an escalating battle between China’s increasingly active Internet censors and the free-speech activists determined to thwart them. Activists outside of China say they are disguising Internet traffic banned by Beijing—which includes anything from social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, to Gmail and news websites—by tunneling it encrypted through cloud servers run by major U.S. companies.

Big Data Is an Economic Justice Issue, Not Just a Privacy Problem

Nathan Newman, Huffington Post,  Monday, March 16, 2015

The control of personal data by "big data" companies is not just an issue of privacy but is becoming a critical issue of economic justice, argues a new report issued by the organization Data Justice, which itself is being publicly launched in conjunction with the report. I am the director of this new effort and wanted to outline why we see this as a critical issue for progressives. This steady loss of data by individuals into the hands of increasingly centralized corporate hands is helping drive a large portion of the economic inequality that has become central to the political debate in our nation.

Senate Asks Facebook, Google To Send User Information Without A Warrant

Neal Ungerleider, Fast Company,  Monday, March 16, 2015

A new bill making its way through the Senate would allow the federal government to collect user information from companies like Google and Facebook… without a warrant. The bill, called the Cyber Information Sharing Act (CISA) of 2015, "encourages" private companies to share user information with the federal government with minimal oversight. In a closed-door meeting on Thursday, March 12, the Senate Intelligence Committee approved the bill and is now sending it on for a vote. Reading through the latest publicly available draft of the bill, CISA’s provisions seem unusually broad and designed to allow future invasions of privacy. Although the bill says its purpose is to prevent hacker attacks, it encourages the sharing of all sorts of user information with wide swaths of the federal government.

EU ministers OK new cross-border data protection plan, sparking criticism

Loek Essers, PCWorld,  Friday, March 13, 2015

Ministers of European Union countries have agreed on a new plan to deal with cross-border privacy cases. Companies and a variety of critics, though, have called the proposal a mess. The plan, at least originally, was supposed to put in place a “one-stop-shop” mechanism that would make it easier for businesses and citizens to deal with privacy-related complaints. The idea of a streamlined approach to resolving privacy issues is a key pillar of EU data-protection reform and member states agreed on a version of such a plan on Friday, said Vra Jourová, European Commissioner for Justice during a press conference.

EU data protection rules shake-up set to rile US tech groups

Murad Ahmed and Duncan Robinson, Financial Times,  Thursday, March 12, 2015

EU member states are expected to back data protection reforms that US technology groups have labelled a “Eurovision Song Contest” for regulators, in the latest transatlantic split on regulation of the sector. Initially, the EU had planned to introduce a “one-stop shop” for data regulation, whereby companies would only have to deal with one national regulator. But under the new proposals, which are likely to be approved by member states this week, regulators in other affected countries would have a say in data protection disputes.

Tech groups renew push for cloud, email privacy protections

Grant Gross, InfoWorld,  Thursday, March 12, 2015

This may finally be the year that the U.S. Congress gives email and other documents stored in the cloud for several months the same privacy protections from police searches as newer files or paper records stored in a file cabinet, say backers of electronic privacy reform. A coalition of tech companies, digital rights advocates and other groups on Wednesday renewed their call for Congress to change a 29-year-old electronic privacy law called the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA).

HIPAA Regulations v. FERPA Rules In Privacy Rights

Elizabeth Snell, Health Security,  Wednesday, March 11, 2015

HIPAA regulations were created to ensure that patients’ PHI remained secure, and that individuals would not have to worry about their personal information falling into the wrong hands. Similarly, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law protecting the privacy of student education records. However, recent events have pushed the two laws to the forefront, as individuals’ privacy rights are being called into question. A University of Oregon (UO) student was reportedly going to file a sexual assault-related lawsuit against the school. However, UO allegedly accessed the student’s therapy records from its counseling center and handed them over to its general counsel’s office. The student’s medical records were then used to help defend against her lawsuit.

EU Seeks to Tighten Data Privacy Laws

Elizabeth Dwoskin, WSJ Digits,  Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The U.S. and Europe are growing further apart when it comes to data privacy. Rattled by the ongoing Snowden revelations, the European Union is putting finishing touches on a bill that would dramatically change the way U.S. companies that operate in Europe could handle consumer data. The measure would replace an existing patchwork of national data privacy laws. The draft legislation would require individuals to consent explicitly before businesses could share their personal data. It would also broaden the so-called right to be forgotten. The legislation is being negotiated within the E.U. and must pass through several political hurdles before it could take effect.

Student Privacy Vs. Police Accountability: The Controversy Of Body Cameras On School Cops

Sara Guaglione, iSchoolGuide,  Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Chad Marlow, the advocacy and policy counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, said body cameras allow the public to monitor police and hold law enforcement officers accountable, by obtaining and sharing footage through open-records laws. However, Marlow believes there is a difference between a general police officer wearing a body camera in public and a school cop recording students. Bill Vaughn, the chief of police in Johnston, Iowa, where the 6,700-student district's two school resource officers now wear body cameras, believes that the cameras can provide objective evidence for use in criminal proceedings, including those involving students, and could help refute or prove accusations of officer misconduct.

The Landscape of Student Digital Privacy Legislation

Tanya Roscorla, Center for Digital Education,  Tuesday, March 10, 2015

This year, student data privacy is even more popular in legislatures across the country. As of March 6, just over three-quarters of states had introduced 138 bills dealing with student data privacy — a 25 percent increase over last year's bill count. Many of these bills build on the work that states already did in 2014, with legislators looking at both the governance and prohibition side of the issue. "The scope and number of bills really confirms how much of an ongoing conversation this is for states and how addressing privacy is something they'll be thinking about in different ways over the long term," said Rachel Anderson, a senior associate for policy and advocacy at the Data Quality Campaign who crunched the legislative numbers.