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

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

Enough with the Tracking Already

You may not have read the New York Times Privacy Project yet, but if not, now is the time to do so.  They have begun a series on the nature of tracking individuals via cellphones, armed with a treasure trove of over 50 billion pings on 12 million phones.  The results are dramatic, showing just… 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

A Court of Appeals Saves Web Scraping (For Now)

We often hear clients ask about how to effectively assemble information from the Internet and, simultaneously, how to separate the noise from the meaningful data.  Although there’s no substitute for experience and wisdom, a large quantity of data analyzed properly will often do in a pinch, as long as you can get the data lawfully… 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

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

Data is Not the “New X.” Data is You.

If we’ve had this happen once, it’s happened several dozen times.  We’ll be discussing our book, or our practice, or how we approach privacy issues, and someone will say something like “Yes, well, you know, data is the new x.”  And x can be anything.  Oil, money, gold, papayas, whatever. The analogy is, essentially, that… 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

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