A Quarantine Lesson – One Month In

I think we can all agree that March 2020 lasted approximately 11 years and that April lasted about 11 minutes.  Seriously, what happened to April?  Why did time seem to absolutely whiz by while just a few weeks earlier it felt like we were waking up on March 78th?  Perhaps it has something to do… Read More

Zoom Bombs

Zoom, the videoconferencing platform on everyone’s lips this month, has had an roller coaster of a first quarter.  As remote working became the norm for hundreds of millions, the company rapidly emerged as a favorite in the United States, where its simplicity and video quality made it stand out from competitors.  Its daily usage swelled… Read More

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

What to Do In a Privacy (Health) Crisis

Privacy is not the top priority for most people or businesses dealing with a health crisis, and the spread of COVID-19 means that privacy will (rightly) take a backseat to handling individual and global health needs. Frankly, one of the biggest problems is managing the flow of disinformation/misinformation as it winds its way through social… 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

Innovative Data Partnerships (Part II)

We’ve already spent some time discussing the kind of partnerships where a small, innovative firm wants to partner with a larger one to create new value and drive growth.  Many times, this is how the smaller business gets its foot in the door, and (together, perhaps, with a channel agreement) first is able to get… Read More

Responding to a Data Crisis in Three Steps

It’s been a week, folks.  Not even a week.  And we’ve already got a looming hot war, an active cyberwar, three major data breaches, and the promise of a major fight over GDPR on the very near horizon.  Apparently, 2020 is going to be like 2019, just more so. Normally, this is the time of… 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

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

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

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

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

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