Apple Plays the Long (Privacy) Gamers

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

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

Getting Bad Advice

The Internet is a risky place for “expertise.”  Because it is both a platform and a megaphone, it creates its own multiplier effect for whatever you put into it.  If the arguments of the last few years have proven anything, it’s that even a poorly concocted lie spreads far faster than a well-explained truth, largely… Read More

Genetic Testing and the Illusion of Privacy (Policies)

One recent trend that makes privacy professionals very nervous is the “what’s my DNA say about me” fad.  You swab your cheek, mail it off to a lab, and presto: you learn that you’re 99% Irish/Scottish and 1% Pacific Islander with a high chance of getting appendicitis.  Obviously, unlocking the mysteries of our ancestry is… Read More

What’s Five Billion Among (Facebook) Friends?

The Internet went into full “give me a Drudge Report siren” mode last week about Facebook’s announcement that it anticipates a fine of three to five billion dollars from the FTC in the coming months.  The fine, a result of Facebook’s violation of a 2011 consent decree with the Commission related to privacy practices, tracking,… Read More

Why You Need a Data Audit Team (Like Yesterday)

Creating a Culture of Data Privacy & Protection (An Excerpt) It fascinates us how few data audit teams we run into, regardless of company size or data asset library depth. Everyone is accustomed to financial audits; the very same principles can be put to work for your data strategy to monitor intrinsic and extrinsic data… Read More

The Dangers of a Biometric Future

Biometric data is information at its most sensitive.  Not only do health and physical characteristics carry with them the very concept of our personhood and humanity, they are also often immutable and, therefore, permanently identify us.  I can change my email address or my password, and I can even get a new legal name if… Read More

Organic Data and Digital Borders

The longer you spend in data-oriented businesses, the more you notice a funny thing about the language used to describe data sets and their uses.  While, early on, the language sounds a lot like what you’d use to describe currency (“valuable,” “fungible,” “velocity,”), eventually it all starts to sound like you’re talking about food (“organic,”… Read More

The Undefended Principles of a Free Internet

For most of us who remember a time before widespread access to the Internet (it was mostly Donald Duck games on your Commodore), going online was a decidedly American-feeling affair.  One could be forgiven the thought, given that the largest internet service provider for years was….America Online.  And, largely, that tracked the history and development… Read More

Curb Your (AI)nthusiasm

The Boston Dynamics “dogs” have become something of an inside joke around here: any time we want to suggest that an idea, project, or new technology might have worrisome long-term implications, the robotic canines come up in conversation.  Much of it has to do with their somewhat surreal, uncanny valley look, something familiar enough to… Read More

We’re Learning the Wrong Lessons

It’s easy to criticize companies like Facebook or Google for their conduct when it comes to data, largely because they are so frequently the subject of widely-publicized reports and news articles. The stories documenting tech giant misdeeds (ironically, often displayed in Facebook’s newsfeed) demonstrate a growing awareness of surveillance capitalism and surveillance states, as well… Read More

Hardcoding Trust: One Year of Sad Privacy Responses From Your Favorite AI

What Zork can teach us about Google, Amazon, and Apple’s Commitment to Data Privacy. Data Privacy gets a lot of lip service these days. We have Apple declaring that they bake privacy into every product, Google deciding to delete millions of Google+ accounts (there were millions?) because of a coding bug that potentially exposed private… Read More

Employee Monitors and Big Brother at Work

Although we consistently discuss the importance of managing data about customers or partners, it’s crucial to pay attention to a key demographic of your intrinsic datasets – employees.  Your team generates an enormous volume of data simply by showing up to the office (HR data, payment information, personal login details and passwords, etc), and the… Read More

We are All Baby Shark (in Data Tracking)

Data is amazing. You know that already. You’re told it every moment of every day. We are literally told or shown by ESPN, our kids report cards, our treadmills, our wristwatch, our Alexa, our Google, our Siri, our phones, and our apps that data is here and has the answer. In some cases this is… Read More

Weekly Data Privacy Roundup

We’re starting something new, a weekly collection of some of the stories that we saw or found interesting but, for some reason, didn’t have time to address meaningfully (by which we mean throw as many gifs at as possible).  This week is heavy on government action, which is a good indication of the trends we’re… Read More

Super-Humans Nudging Us Through Surveillance Capitalism – a Bestseller Venn Diagram

This week I completed a book by Shoshana Zuboff that my brother, James, had pointed me toward. I had also recently completed two other books that have been on my list for quite some time. The timing of each of these books and their futurist warning, deep research, and outstanding storytelling caused a flurry of… Read More

The Seven Deadly (Data Privacy) Sins

One of the questions we hear most frequently is “what are we doing wrong?”  We almost always try to flip that question around into “what can we do better,” because we’re big believers in the notion that providing goals, rather than chastising, creates the right kind of mindset about data privacy and managing a data… Read More

FTC’s Privacy Report Card

It’s that time of year again – the FTC has released its report on enforcement activity in 2018, including its efforts at enforcing privacy promises.  It was, as you might expect, a busy year, with major proceedings instituted against a number of high-profile entities like Uber, Paypal, and Facebook.  Although the total amount in fines… Read More

The Global View on Privacy

We don’t know if you’ve noticed this, but every once in a while we’ll write a blog post about GDPR or CCPA or American data law.  Yes, we do spend an awful lot of time talking about the law in Europe and the United States. That’s probably not a big surprise, given that this is… Read More