Latest in Privacy

Encryption

Facebook, Encryption and the Dangers of Privacy Laundering

On March 6, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced a long-term road map to turn Facebook into a “privacy-focused communications platform.” His “principles” for this transformation include auto-deleting old user content and choosing “not to build data centers in countries that have a track record of violating human rights like privacy or freedom of expression,” even if that gets Facebook blocked from lucrative markets such as China or Russia.

surveillance

The ‘Big Brother Watch’ Ruling on U.K. Surveillance Practices: Key Points from an American Perspective

Last month, a divided chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (“ECHR”) (that is, a panel of seven judges from ECHR’s “First Section”) issued an opinion declaring several aspects of British surveillance law to be in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights. The case is called, perhaps inevitably, Big Brother Watch and Others v. The United Kingdom. The opinion is ponderous, to say the least.

Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board

A Proposed Agenda for a New PCLOB

President Trump recently nominated Travis LeBlanc and Aditya Bamzai as members of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB), placing a full set of five nominees before the Senate and creating the possibility that the inquorate body could soon be revived. (A quorum requires three members; since early 2017, the body’s only member has been Elisabeth Collins.) This would be a welcome change.

Privacy

Brett Kavanaugh's Failure to Acknowledge the Changes in Communications Technology: The Implications for Privacy

Facebook became available to the general public in 2006; Apple's smartphone was announced the following year. In little over a decade, the devices, and the communications they engender, have become ubiquitous. Fully 95 percent of Americans own cell phones; 77 percent, smartphones. We carry mobile devices everywhere, using them to carry out a multitude of tasks.

Data Protection

Why the U.S. Needs Federal Data Privacy Legislation

“I Love Lucy” provides the central metaphor for a Brookings paper released today on what to do to protect privacy. It comes from the episode where Lucy goes to work wrapping candies on an assembly line. The line keeps speeding up with the candies coming closer together, and, as they fall farther behind, Lucy and her sidekick Ethel scramble harder to keep up. “I think we’re fighting a losing game,” Lucy says.

surveillance

The NSA and the USA Freedom Act

The National Security Agency has announced a startling failure in the implementation of the USA Freedom Act of 2015. According to a public statement released by NSA on June 28, the call detail records that NSA has been receiving from telephone companies under the Act are infected with errors, NSA cannot isolate and correct those errors, and so it has decided to purge from its data repositories all of the CDRs ever received under the Act.

Privacy

Sorting Through GDPR: What to Watch After May 25

May 25 is an important day. The shroud of uncertainty surrounding the General Data Protection Regulation implementation this Friday smacks of Y2K thrill. What is in store for us in a post-GDPR world?

First off, no, the GDPR is not the new and improved version of East Germany. It’s the new and improved version of the European Union’s EU-wide ambitious privacy regulations and a perpetuation of classic EU privacy values. It’s a very big deal not just for European companies but also for U.S. companies that do business in Europe.

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