A Post About Bread! (And Data too, I Guess)

We’re big fans of January around here, enjoying, as we do, the prospect of starting the new year off the right way and looking at things afresh. There’s something special about the focus that comes with new beginnings and the excitement of starting new projects after the whirlwind of the holiday season. The one thing… 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

Facebook’s Privacy Game

Fads are a big part of January. Everyone wants to hashtag their efforts at keeping up their New Year’s Resolution (#NoCheeseMonth, #NoCarbMonth, #NoFunMonth), and our collective refusal to acknowledge that the holidays are over means we’re all still desperate for distractions. But nobody minds, because we all love fads — it’s why we get obsessed… 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

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

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

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

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

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

A Follow-Up Q&A on LinkedIn v. hiQ

After our discussion of LinkedIn v. hiQ earlier this week, we received a lot of questions from clients and readers about the implications of the case.  We thought it might be easier to compile some of these questions and our responses to continue the conversation about this important case. Q. It seems unfair that hiQ… 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

The Challenges of Ethical AI

There have been dozens of articles and news pieces about the need for “ethics in AI” or “ethical AI.”  This (apparently brand new) issue arises from a number of causes, including public concern over facial recognition, the use of automated decisionmaking, and the ongoing public fascination with the darker side of artificial intelligence (see: Black… 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) Gamers

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