Privacy Essentials When Working from Home

As many people adjust to the reality of working from home, we find ourselves in a situation that we largely didn’t anticipate: seemingly everyone else doing the same thing.  In the past, a day or two here or there doing Zoom meetings or conference calls was interesting, anomalous, and largely ad hoc, so there wasn’t… Read More

Protecting Your Data, Protecting Your Business

One of the biggest concerns we have when we talk to clients about how to create data partnerships is the security and protection of data.  We don’t mean cybersecurity and the literal safeguarding of information, though that’s undoubtedly essential too.  Instead, we’re talking about ensuring that datasets are used only as appropriate, are kept within… Read More

What it Means to “Control” Data

There is an unconventional data partnership structure based around controlling the data that others have about you. Remember, most businesses gather datasets from their operations. However, each record of those datasets is usually referencing one particular entity, like a person or a business or a product. There is an entire partnership structure around the entities… Read More

Analog Thinking in a Digital Age

Okay, There’s An App For That. Why? Ho boy.  The Iowa Caucuses were…they happened.  And they happened in a way that was both completely unprecedented and utterly, exhaustingly predictable.  It’s a story line that’s becoming, frankly, a little boring: people use old process, someone decides that an app (or AI) will be better, lots of… Read More

Online Trust, Facts, and the Best Evidence Rule

When you’re a lawyer and you write about truth, you’re basically asking to be insulted because….you know….you’re a lawyer.  It’s true, some of my fellow legal professionals have occasionally had a less than intimate connection with the truth, but, in general, even the best lawyers squint their eyes and look wary when someone talks about… 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to Protect Your Data in a Data Partnership – from “Data Leverage”

We spend an enormous amount of time talking about the benefits of data partnerships but, of course, they aren’t without their risks.  No one enters into a business relationship assuming that everything will go exactly as planned (without serious problems later, anyway).  But how do you identify ways to protect your business, your data, and… 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