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(Apr 20, 2015) There is an old saying in baseball that a strong defense is so fundamental that one does not appreciate or even notice it until the moment when one no longer has it. Likewise, free and unencumbered information flows over the Internet have become so fundamental to the way we now do business, find our news, learn new skills and even go on vacation that we no longer appreciate or even notice them. However, data localization policies are a recent international development that, if they take root in... Read More

Privacy Perspectives

Privacy and Depression Do Not Crash Planes

(Apr 7, 2015) Privacy does not cause airplanes to crash; neither does pilot depression. The wave of criticism against Germany’s strict privacy laws in the aftermath of the findings following the calamitous fate of Germanwings Flight 9525 is misguided and quite possibly dangerous. Immediately after initial news of the crash, a reporter asked Carstan Spohr, CEO of Lufthansa, Germanwings’ parent airline, if copilot Andreas Lubitz could have been on a suicide mission. “I’m not a lawyer,” Spohr said, “but if a ma... Read More

Privacy Perspectives

The European Privacy Judicial Decision of a Decade: Google v. Vidal-Hall

(Apr 2, 2015) Over the past few years, Google has been involved in a slate of high-stakes privacy litigation, in issues ranging from the removal of offensive video footage to the rollout of its Street View service to the emerging right to be forgotten. Last week, Google privacy aficionados received another landmark case to add to an increasingly rich library with the England and Wales Court of Appeal decision in Google v. Vidal-Hall. The case involved Google’s alleged circumvention of privacy settings in Appl... Read More

Privacy Perspectives

How the U.S. and EU Can Find a Path Forward After Snowden

(Apr 2, 2015) The seemingly endless stream of revelations from Edward Snowden about the surveillance activities of U.S. intelligence agencies have put the EU in a bind. Despite the occasional dark suspicions of American officials and media that the goal of EU policy is to hobble American power and influence, the truth is quite different. But today, the EU needs America’s help in shoring up a strategic relationship that is vital to both sides. The U.S. remains by far the EU's most important trading partner, ... Read More

Privacy Perspectives

Meerkat and Periscope: Are Privacy Pros Ready for the Consequences of Live Streaming?

(Mar 31, 2015) A couple weeks back, a new social networking app, with all the ease and power of live video streaming, made quite a splash at SXSW. Meerkat went from zero to hero faster than a Tesla drag race. Actress and comedian Julia-Louis Dreyfus even “meerkatted” the crowd during her keynote conversation. [caption id="attachment_156022" align="alignleft" width="300"] Julia Louis-Dreyfus at SXSW 2015[/caption] But Meerkat may have been a flash in the pan. Just days after making its big splash, Twitter ann... Read More

Privacy Perspectives

The Future of Tech and Democracy, and How Privacy Pros Can Help

(Mar 26, 2015) Last month in San Francisco, tech leaders and CEOs met with federal regulators to do something rather unexpected: facilitate the use of new technology in the democratic process. Along the way, participants gave serious thought on how to build safeguards to ensure the protection of consumer privacy. Inspiration for the event came from conversations Federal Elections Commission (FEC) Chair Ann Ravel, in which she shared with me her fervent belief that new technology has the potential to bring mor... Read More

Privacy Perspectives

The Future of Privacy: My Journey Down the Rabbit Hole at SXSW

(Mar 20, 2015) For a first-timer, SXSW is one overwhelming experience. I’d imagine it’s still overwhelming the second, or even the third, time, too. With thousands of attendees—from advertisers and entrepreneurs to musicians, filmmakers and movie stars—spread out over most of downtown Austin, TX, the vibe is palpable, and the means for distraction ubiquitous. Not only are the streets filled with flash-mob marketers and street-side musicians, the array of SXSW Interactive sessions is astounding. I quickly real... Read More

Privacy Perspectives

Compliance, Cloud Security and Environmental Law: Learning from Past Experience

(Mar 19, 2015) As U.S. industry waits to see how President Barack Obama's call for a new digital security law translates into actual legislation, it may be useful to look to other regulatory regimes to set reasonable expectations for establishing national standards for privacy and data protection. The logical inclination would be to look at existing, related regulations like the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and Sarbanes-Oxley. But as technologies such as cloud computing, mobile a... Read More

Privacy Perspectives

Privacy Cloud Certification Forecasts Bright Future for Cloud Computing

(Mar 12, 2015) In February, Microsoft announced that all its cloud enterprise offerings—Office 365, Azure, CRM Online and Intune—were certified by independent third-party auditors for compliance with the new ISO privacy cloud standard 27018. This makes Microsoft the first cloud provider to have received this external certification. Likely, other large and smaller cloud providers will follow suit. The new ISO cloud standard was adopted in the summer of 2014. The standard includes a set of privacy a... Read More

Privacy Perspectives

Is the New Consumer Privacy Bill Overkill? A Q&A with Adam Thierer

(Mar 11, 2015) The Obama administration’s draft discussion Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights is a hot topic of conversation here in Washington. Recently, Adam Thierer and I had a chance to talk about it. Adam is a well-known figure in privacy circles. He is a senior research fellow with the Technology Policy Program at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University specializing in technology, media, Internet and free-speech policies, with a particular focus on online safety and digital privacy. Chris Wolf: What... Read More

Privacy Perspectives