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

You Can’t Copy/Paste Privacy

Ask any young litigation associate in a large law firm what the most important skill they learned in their first few years practicing was, and the honest ones will say “Control-c, Control-v.”  Yes, Copy-and-Paste activities occupy an enormous portion of young associates’ time, for a number of reasons.  They’re risk averse, so they want to… 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

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

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

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 Feds Are Coming (Or Not)

I think Facebook could probably characterize 2019 year-to-date as “less than fantastic.”  The ongoing fallout from Cambridge Analytica in the UK, massive consumer distrust, the internal strife between what appears to be Team Zuck versus Team Cheryl, and now the looming multibillion-dollar fine that FTC seems to be preparing. It’s enough to make you drink.… Read More

Predictions, Lists, and Complete Wild Guesses

Now that it’s January and everyone is finally returning to the reality where things don’t always taste like peppermint or eggnog (or both, which is just….no), it’s a good time to think about how you’re going to approach 2019.  This time of year is rife with predictions and, more often, guesses about what privacy, tech,… Read More

Data Leverage: Unlocking the Surprising Growth Potential of Data Partnerships

We are proud to announce the release of our book, Data Leverage: Unlocking the Surprising Growth Potential of Data Partnerships.  This book, which outlines our approach to establishing partnerships, sharing data, and protecting data assets, is a single-source guide for what we believe the most important aspects of data management programs are.  We could not be… Read More

We All Care About Data Security, Except When We Don’t

It should be clear by now that we are most comfortable expressing our thoughts in the form of movie quotes, falling as we do into that demographic of Americans who believe that if you can’t say it with a gif from an 80s movie, you don’t need to say it at all. Really, it works… Read More

Data Privacy Legislation and the “Brunhilde Effect”

One day before the midterm elections, and we’re fully into the silly season of data-related legislation in the United States, with prospective members of Congress setting forth their approach to managing privacy and security with a variety of proposals that are….let’s call them “interesting.”  I say “interesting” because it’s intriguing to see that candidates treat… Read More

There Definitely Won’t be a Federal Data Privacy Law. (Maybe. We’ll See.)

“There’s no way the federal government is going to create a federal privacy law.”  “It’s just not going to happen.”  “Not a chance, no way, forget it.”  “There isn’t a political will in Washington to get it done, and so we can all just assume that it’ll all be only the states issuing regulations for… Read More

Two (Really Bad) Approaches to Privacy

We’ve reached that time of year when everyone is basically in summer mode – non-work plans being made, last day of school or first day of camp lunches being packed, the inevitable first sunburn (for me, not the kids). It’s the time of year when there’s also a downshift in activity, and (even in the… Read More

Why the LabMD Case is So Important

Yesterday, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals issued a long-awaited ruling in a case called LabMD v. FTC.  Followers of the case will tell you that it has been, to put it mildly, an interesting saga, and it hits on the biggest data related issues of the past fifteen years.  The ruling has serious implications for… Read More

Lessons from Facebook and Fortnite

The news just has not been kind to Facebook the last three months. First the Cambridge Analytica scandal breaks, then the company runs those wrong-footed commercials (“Sorry for selling access to your data and, you know, for stuff like Brexit“), and now comes the revelation that the apologies needed to go much deeper. Despite an… Read More

The FTC Annual Report: Consumer Expectations and Company Followthrough

2017 was an eventful year for the FTC’s efforts to hold its place as the most important regulator of privacy and data security in the United States.  Although no regulator has broader reach or more influence, other agencies and states have begun to stake out their own claim to regulatory authority, and many of them did so last year.  The FCC, the CFPB, the SEC, even the New York State Department of Financial Services have all issued new regulations, and each will likely attempt to increase their influence and authority in 2018. Read More