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(Apr 27, 2015) Amidst the tragedy still unfolding in the earthquake-stricken nation of Nepal, a member of the privacy profession died while climbing Mount Everest. Google engineer and self-described adventurer Dan Fredinburg was among at least 17 climbers killed when an avalanche set off by Saturday’s massive earthquake struck their base camp. Fredinburg had previously described his job at Google in part as driving “the creation of data protection and lifecycle management systems to defend the liberties of our users." This post for The Privacy Advisor brings together some of the responses to Fredinburg’s untimely death and his work in privacy at Google. Read More

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Roundup: The U.S., France, Australia and Canada

(Apr 27, 2015) This week’s Privacy Tracker weekly roundup includes updates on U.S. cybersecurity bills, including two complementary bills passed in the House late last week. Also in the U.S., the Illinois House passed a license-plate reader data protection bill, and the Illinois Senate passed a breach notification bill; Florida’s Senate passed a drone privacy bill, and New York is considering a data security bill. In the EU, a proposed antiterrorism bill in France is getting criticism for its impact on privacy, and internal documents from an EU official propose the creation of a new regulator to oversee Internet companies. Plus read about recent developments in Canada and Australia. (IAPP member login required.) Read More

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Pasquale on Why the EU Needs a Digital Regulator

(Apr 27, 2015) Maryland Law Prof. Frank Pasquale reacts to leaked documents from the office of EU Digital Commissioner Günther Oettinger in which the regulator called for “a central EU-wide body with the power to monitor platforms’ use of data, and to resolve disputes between the operators and the businesses they serve.” In a column for The Guardian, Pasquale writes, “This is far-sighted, important planning,” adding, “The new economy demands a new regulatory body, with the ability to continually monitor the law-like power now assumed by major digital platforms to themselves.” Additionally, he said, such an agency is “desperately needed” to ensure such platforms “play fair.” Read More

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Will Consumers Give It Up for a Personalized In-Store Experience?

(Apr 27, 2015) A column for The Huffington Post reports on a recent project at Harvard Business School that looked into consumer privacy perspectives of in-store personalization through technology such as iBeacons. A survey of approximately 200 consumers found differences in consumers’ online and offline privacy preferences. Unlike online interactions, “traditional trust-building mechanisms were not sufficient to mitigate respondents’ concerns in sharing their personally identifiable information,” the project’... Read More

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App Lets Users Sell Their Own Data

(Apr 27, 2015) Technical.ly Brooklyn reports on a new app called TwoSense that tracks—with permission—all the personal data on a user’s phone, from where users spend their time to the routes they take and more. But it guards the data rather than sharing it with third parties and allows the user to make decisions on to whom the data is sold. Developer Dawud Gordon says users could make between $50 and $100 a month off of their own data. “Bringing users into the personal data economy is an idea that’s ready,” Gordon said. “There has to be privacy, utility and monetization. The first company to get all three of those things is going to win.” Read More

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Bills Face Hurdle in Renewed Spying Efforts; Obama Admin Asks Silicon Valley for Help

(Apr 27, 2015) House lawmakers will soon introduce a bipartisan bill aiming to end the domestic bulk collection of Americans’ phone record data by the government, according to U.S. News & World Report. But the bill faces a hurdle: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has introduced a bill to reauthorize existing legal provisions used to conduct domestic surveillance that would otherwise expire June 1, the report states. Meanwhile, the Obama administration’s new defense secretary visited Silicon Va... Read More

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Hanging Out With the “Global Dissident Elite”

(Apr 27, 2015) Fusion’s Kashmir Hill reports on a recent collaboration between filmmaker Laura Poitras, artist and political dissident Ai Weiwei and technologist Jacob Appelbaum. Poitras, who recently won an Oscar for Citizenfour, a documentary on Edward Snowden, just finished filming Ai and Appelbaum “meeting and making art together,” Hill writes. The collaboration was requested by Rhizome. Over the course of the last six years, Rhizome, which is affiliated with the New Museum in New York, has paired seven technologists with seven artists and has given them 24 hours to create a joint art project. Poitras was invited along to film the historic meeting. In her post, Hill also describes the steps she took to protect her own privacy when journeying to China to cover the meeting. Read More

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Bills Aim for Cybersecurity, Take Competing Approaches

(Apr 27, 2015) ZDNet reports on two competing cybersecurity bills aimed at reforming computer misuse laws. Sens. Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) have introduced the draft Data Breach Notification and Punishing Cyber Criminals Act, which aims to punish cybercriminals who access data without authorization or commit identity theft. But it doesn’t differentiate between security researchers and hackers, the report states. It counters a bill introduced by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and Sens. Ron Wyden (D... Read More

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Facebook Hit with Second Suit This Month

(Apr 27, 2015) For the second time this month, Facebook has been hit with a privacy lawsuit in Illinois over its facial-recognition technology, International Business Times reports. The lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court, claims the technology raises “serious privacy concerns” and violates a state law that prohibits companies from collecting certain types of biometric data without consent, the report states. The plaintiff, Adam Pezen, a Chicago resident, says the technology has allowed Facebook to amass a large-scale database of sensitive and personal data with a “large potential of misuse.” A Facebook spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment, the report states. Read More

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Body-Worn Cameras Incite Public Footage Debate

(Apr 27, 2015) Police departments around the country are adopting the use of body-worn cameras to film encounters with the public, but it’s created a conflict over who has the right to view the footage, The New York Times reports. In the state of Washington, the Seattle Police Department has set up a YouTube channel that broadcasts blurred images in order to protect privacy. But in Bremerton, the police chief chose not to buy the cameras after testing them because he feared the state’s public records laws would require him to turn film over, which could violate privacy. Thus far, 87 bills on body cameras have been introduced in 29 legislatures, with 15 states aiming to limit what of the footage becomes public. (Registration may be required to access this story.) Read More

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