We hear the word “crisis” a lot these days. A phenomenon of our age is that issues are transformed into crises, and many crises are transformed into existential threats. Think about the way we looked at online harms and screen time for children. Just a year or two ago, the rage was the claim that… Read More
Tech Titans Play Monopoly
Last week, a federal judge dismissed the Federal Trade Commission’s monopoly lawsuit against Facebook, concluding that the agency hadn’t made a sufficiently clear case that the social media giant controlled the market in a monopolistic way. At the same time, Amazon has demanded that FTC Chair Lina Khan recuse herself from any antitrust investigation into… Read More
We’re Missing the Point in the Trump-Facebook Ban Story
If there’s one thing that social media loves, it’s talking about social media. It’s no surprise, then, that this week’s internal review at Facebook about whether Donald Trump’s account should be reinstated has chewed up hashtags and trends around the world. If you recall, social networks like Twitter and Facebook banned The Donald in the… Read More
What the First Amendment Actually Means Online
Having a debate about the First Amendment in law school was never something that interested me. For some reason, everyone else was always energized by the idea of debating the contours of permissible expression, or what constituted the prior restraint on the press, but I always preferred structure and process-driven questions about federalism, the Administartive… Read More
Privacy Shield Is Gone. Now What?
For those of us who pay attention to and care about these kinds of things, the Court of Justice of the European Union has issued a ruling today stating that the FTC’s Privacy Shield framework governing the transfer of personal data from Europe to the United States is no longer valid. This ruling is very… Read More
Predictions, Lists, and Complete Wild Guesses II
After a whirlwind start to this year (let’s leave the decade debates aside please), we’re finally ready to start making our 2020 predictions for privacy, data partnerships, and data strategy. This is where we lay out our view for how businesses, regulators, government, and internet users will shift the rules and change the way we… Read More
Facebook’s Privacy Game
Fads are a big part of January. Everyone wants to hashtag their efforts at keeping up their New Year’s Resolution (#NoCheeseMonth, #NoCarbMonth, #NoFunMonth), and our collective refusal to acknowledge that the holidays are over means we’re all still desperate for distractions. But nobody minds, because we all love fads — it’s why we get obsessed… Read More
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
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
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
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
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
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
Hey Facebook, Block the Jumbo Data Privacy App, We Dare You!
This week, a data privacy app called Jumbo launched and is designed to manage complex privacy settings across a number of platforms including Google, Facebook, Amazon (Alexa), and Twitter. But will it get blocked by Big Tech? 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
The Joke’s On You
There are times when it’s difficult to pick a topic to write about for this blog, because data privacy and data partnerships are such broad subjects that it’s like selecting from an unlimited menu of issues. We could discuss GDPR or CCPA or a data breach or technological trends or creating a mutually beneficial data… Read More