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(Jul 2, 2015) Individual consent to data processing has been an anchor of data protection and privacy laws around the world. The assumption is that consent ensures that information practices are focused on the rights and interests of individuals by enabling them to control the use of their personal data. Most lawmakers resort to the consent-based model by default. But is consent really the best and only way in this modern Information Age to provide meaningful control and to protect the individual? This ques... Read More

Privacy Perspectives

Revenge Porn: A Serious Issue Is Finally Being Taken Seriously

(Jun 22, 2015) The last few days have featured good news for those who've been fighting against "revenge porn," or nonconsensual pornography. The practice of posting naked photos, primarily of women, to the Internet without their consent and against their will is finally being taken seriously in the broader mainstream. Yes, there are almost two dozen state laws already outlawing it. Yes, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has taken action against one specific website. Yes, some arrests against perpetrators ha... Read More

Privacy Perspectives

Thank Latvia: Council Gets Past Objections for GDPR General Approach

(Jun 16, 2015) After three and a half years of intense negotiations, EU ministers finally agreed to a general approach on their version of the proposed General Data Protection Regulation at a meeting of the Justice and Home Affairs Council in Luxembourg on Monday. This clears the way for trilogue negotiations to begin on June 24 with the Council of the European Union and the European Commission looking to finalise a compromise text with the European Parliament by the end of 2015. Parliament rapporteur Jan Phi... Read More

Privacy Perspectives

Is This the EU Data Protection Reform We Could Have Had?

(Jun 10, 2015) Anyone keeping up with the negotiations on the proposed EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is aware that the negotiations are gradually coming to their conclusion. And while much work remains to be done, some of the many questions that have surrounded the reform can already be answered. Yes, the chosen form of legal act will be a regulation. Yes, the fines for non-compliance will be substantial. And yes, new and somewhat abstract concepts like privacy by design and by default will be m... Read More

Privacy Perspectives

On Gender Equality and the Privacy Profession

(Jun 9, 2015) It’s terrific there’s no gap in pay between the salaries of male and female privacy professionals. I am not surprised, but thrilled there is proof of what I have long felt to be true. As one of the early pioneers of the privacy profession, I proudly offer some reasons why we have managed to get it right. Now that I am on the sidelines, I hope the trend continues. Not one gender more than the other, but equal, as it should be. Shortly after the turn of the century,I was asked to take on the Gl... Read More

Privacy Perspectives

The USA FREEDOM Act, the President’s Review Group and the Biggest Intelligence Reform in 40 Years

(Jun 8, 2015) Two years after the first story based on Edward Snowden’s leaks hit the press, the U.S. government enacted the USA FREEDOM Act, ending bulk collection under Section 215. As one of five members of President Obama’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technology, I applaud its passage—the biggest pro-privacy change to U.S. intelligence law since the original enactment of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act in 1978. There is a close fit between the Review Group’s work and the new... Read More

Privacy Perspectives

The Massive Federal Breach: Why Great Infosec Will Never Be Enough

(Jun 5, 2015) The federal government takes cybersecurity seriously. We know that. They have spent millions on programs like EINSTEIN to protect the very data the Chinese (reportedly) hacked, leading to yesterday’s announcement about the four million former and current government employees affected by the breach at the Office of Personnel Management.  This most recent incident made the front page of the New York Times, it even led the very top of the front page in our local Portland Press Herald, but it is ha... Read More

Privacy Perspectives

With EU Privacy Reform, the Marathon Is In Its Final Stretch

(Jun 4, 2015) If the EU data protection legislative reform was a marathon, we would now be approaching the 20-mile mark. That is the critical point where one can start to think that the finish line is within reach in the knowledge that the hardest part is yet to come. At present, the EU legislative process that started more than three years ago is about to reach a crucial milestone: On 15 and 16 June, the Council of the EU—which shares legislative powers with the European Parliament—is due to reach an agreeme... Read More

Privacy Perspectives

On the Death of Purpose Limitation

(Jun 2, 2015) The latest Council version of the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) provides that personal data may be further processed by the same data controller even if the further purpose is incompatible with the original purpose “if the legitimate interests of that controller or a third party override the interests of the data subject.” The Article 29 Working Party (WP29) and a large number of non-governmental organisations have expressed concerns that this would render the fundamental pr... Read More

Privacy Perspectives

Privacy Harm Is In the Eye of Beholder

(May 28, 2015) Privacy law in the U.S. is weaker than in most places, but hey, at least we’ve got Section 5. While many countries around the world have affirmative privacy protections for most data, the U.S. instead enforces a hundred-year old prohibition against deceptive business practices to merely prohibit companies from tricking people about data practices. In recent years, the FTC has expanded its interpretation of Section 5’s ban on deceptive practices to apply not just to misstatements but also to aff... Read More

Privacy Perspectives