2019: The Year of Meh

To me, the most meaningful meme of this year was “OK, Boomer” (Baby Yoda was a non-event, don’t @ me).  It not only perfectly captures the very real, politically potent generational conflict going on right now, but it also reflects how completely ignored Generation X is in our current culture wars. (I feel no guilt… Read More

Two Gifts You Should Think About Returning

Happy Boxing Day from everyone at Ward PLLC.  We hope that you’re all having an enjoyable, and suitably private, holiday season. For many people, today is a day of quiet, calm, reflection, relaxation, and desperately trying to find out if you can get cash refunds from Restoration Hardware for the gifts your in-laws inexplicably decided… Read More

Don’t Believe Your (Lyin’) Eyes

Like all right-thinking people, I love Marvin Gaye’s rendition of I Heard it Through the Grapevine — ironic though it may be that a privacy lawyer would enjoy a song about unauthorized release of sensitive personal data.  You’re probably hearing it in your head right now, the bassline kicking in and maybe thinking about times… Read More

Enough with the Tracking Already

You may not have read the New York Times Privacy Project yet, but if not, now is the time to do so.  They have begun a series on the nature of tracking individuals via cellphones, armed with a treasure trove of over 50 billion pings on 12 million phones.  The results are dramatic, showing just… Read More

2019 Predictions: How Did We Do?

You may recall that we made some predictions way back in January about what would happen in privacy, privacy law, and data partnerships over the course of 2019.  Well, we believe in accountability, and so it’s time to check out how well we did.  There’s a reason that most people don’t reflect on their New… Read More

The Privacy Quadrant: A DataSmart Approach to User Consent

Very often, we hear clients or businesses express the idea that “we want to give our customers control over the privacy of their data, and that sounds good, but making it a reality is much more complicated.”  That’s a fair assessment — operationalizing privacy is something that companies in the U.S. have a difficult time… Read More

Who Can Sue Over Lost or Misused Data?

It’s hardly controversial to say that data breaches are a bad thing for business, resulting in lost customers, lost confidence, and lost credibility.  But what about the lost data?  What kind of consequences come, for instance, when a malicious insider sells vast quantities of customer data, or an outsider exploits a weakness in your security… Read More

A Follow-Up Q&A on LinkedIn v. hiQ

After our discussion of LinkedIn v. hiQ earlier this week, we received a lot of questions from clients and readers about the implications of the case.  We thought it might be easier to compile some of these questions and our responses to continue the conversation about this important case. Q. It seems unfair that hiQ… Read More

A Court of Appeals Saves Web Scraping (For Now)

We often hear clients ask about how to effectively assemble information from the Internet and, simultaneously, how to separate the noise from the meaningful data.  Although there’s no substitute for experience and wisdom, a large quantity of data analyzed properly will often do in a pinch, as long as you can get the data lawfully… Read More

Innovative Data Partnerships (Part 1)

Not every data partnership involves equals.  Often, a smaller company with a new idea, or a new take on an established idea, will offer partners the ability to revise their own business strategy.  These small but creative firms are often looking for what we call an innovator data partnership, which means they have a potentially… Read More

Two to Tango: Mutually Beneficial Data Partnerships

The mutually beneficial data partnership may sound like a unicorn, but it is actually quite common. Market forces drive these partnerships for one of three reasons: shared clients, operational teams, and marketing. This contrasts with innovator partnerships, which are driven by sales opportunities, product innovation and channel distribution. Mutually beneficial partnerships tend to between partners… Read More

Why Deference Matters in Privacy – A Supreme Court Case Study

Summer is always an interesting time for lawyers, because it’s the time of year when the Supreme Court’s term comes to a close and when, typically, they issue their most controversial or difficult rulings.  In fact, the Court sometimes waits until the actual last day of the term before handing out the tough, 5-4 split… Read More

Explaining Data and Building Partnerships

To create the maximum value, urgency, and leverage in a data partnership, you must present the data available for sale or partnership in a clear and comprehensive way. Partnerships are based upon the concept that you are offering value for value, whether paid or traded. Friendship might need no reasons, but partnerships require some understanding… Read More

Europe Gets Tough

One of the questions I hear most frequently is “will the GDPR be as big a deal as everyone promised?” Of course, the real question is “will the GDPR be as big a deal as you, Jay, promised,” and it is a fair one.  Privacy commentators spent a great deal of time in 2018 talking… Read More

How to Value Datasets – From “Data Leverage”

A strong approach to data requires constant attention not just to the quantity of data you take in, but the quality as well.  It’s never enough to know what data you have; good data strategy demands that you have a firm grasp on the value of that data.  That is not a static exercise, but… Read More

The Challenges of Ethical AI

There have been dozens of articles and news pieces about the need for “ethics in AI” or “ethical AI.”  This (apparently brand new) issue arises from a number of causes, including public concern over facial recognition, the use of automated decisionmaking, and the ongoing public fascination with the darker side of artificial intelligence (see: Black… Read More

Who’s Afraid of a Data Breach?

One curious effect of the commonness of data breaches is that we’ve become inured against shock.  It used to be that a sizeable data breach was big news, certainly if the data lost or accessed was of a sensitive nature.  Remember the Target data breach in 2013?  It dominated news cycles for weeks, largely because… Read More

Apple Plays the Long (Privacy) Game

You may have seen yesterday that Apple took another step in its recent efforts to become the public’s favorite privacy-protecting tech giant.  At WWDC, the company’s annual developer conference, CEO Tim Cook unveiled the new “Sign In with Apple” feature, a user authentication platform.  Like the secure sign-on (SSO) platforms designed by Google and Facebook,… Read More

Thinking About Data Partnership Contracts – From Data Leverage

We’ve know a number of clients or friends whose businesses are going through the initial phases of a data partnership lately.  These relationships are often mission-critical, because without the added benefits of the data partnership, sometimes entire business strategies fall apart.  At the same time, if you don’t take a thoughtful approach to establishing the… Read More

The Contours of Facial Recognition

When you think about it, facial recognition is a deeply “human” action.  It’s the most common way for people to recognize one another, it’s one of the earliest stages of our developmental attachment to our parents, and it is, by far, the easiest way to evaluate someone’s credibility, intentions, and personality.  It explains why we… Read More