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

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

The World’s Toughest Internet Law?

It seems that every time we turn around, there’s new data or Internet legislation on the table that the media describes along the lines of  “similar to the GDPR,” or “GDPR-like.”  It makes sense, of course, given that the GDPR is the most important legislation on privacy in several generations, though it can blur some… 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

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

This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things, EU Parliament.

Really, people?  The EU goes through a forty-year process to craft the most meaningful development in privacy law to protect individual privacy, trade, culture, and exchange on the internet against the Information-Industrial Complex, and then 20 months later passes a law that will dramatically strengthen the market position of….the Information Industrial Complex?  In fact, the… 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

As Transparent as Mud

Transparency is one of the principles driving recent developments in data privacy and data security.  We’ve spent a lot of time discussing how important it is to be open with consumers and data subjects, to give them a clear idea of how their data is used, and why.  The primary reason for this is to… Read More

GDPR Fines, Data Privacy Day, and Other Hot Takes

It’s Data Protection Day, the happiest day of the year!  A year ago, we were talking about the changes that GDPR would bring, and how to gear up operations to ensure that you didn’t violate the law or mislead your customers.  The premise was simple: transparency is a fundamental precept under GDPR (and US law),… 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

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

Data Quality, or “Garbage in, Garbage Out”

Another week, another series of massive data breaches.  Of the few we heard about in the last seven days, none are as concerning as Facebook’s breach involving more than 50 million user accounts.  Those are the kinds of numbers that, depending upon how the breach occurred, could incur a massive penalty at the hands of… Read More

Privacy is Everybody’s Business (Or Needs to Be)

It’s been a whirlwind few weeks since GDPR came into effect, and it seems that many people are learning about privacy rights for the first time. Plenty of them are making data subject access or deletion requests, including against the biggest players in the market. Even though there were years’ worth of stories about data… 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 Three Pillars of GDPR – Security (No. 2)

There are 72 hours to go until GDPR Day (#privmas), and you can almost feel CISOs hoping that, if there’s going to be a breach, it happens today and not on Monday.  We noted once before that Andrea Jelinek, chair of the (very important) Article 29 Working Party deadpanned that “there will be a two… Read More