The Dangers of a Biometric Future

Biometric data is information at its most sensitive.  Not only do health and physical characteristics carry with them the very concept of our personhood and humanity, they are also often immutable and, therefore, permanently identify us.  I can change my email address or my password, and I can even get a new legal name if… 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

Employee Monitors and Big Brother at Work

Although we consistently discuss the importance of managing data about customers or partners, it’s crucial to pay attention to a key demographic of your intrinsic datasets – employees.  Your team generates an enormous volume of data simply by showing up to the office (HR data, payment information, personal login details and passwords, etc), and the… Read More

Why You Need a Data Audit Team

Every so often, we like to include an excerpt from our book Data Leverage to give you an idea of what we recommend to clients. Today, we want to touch on a topic that gets far less attention than it deserves – the importance of a data audit team. When we suggest to people we… Read More

The Joke’s On You

There are times when it’s difficult to pick a topic to write about for this blog, because data privacy and data partnerships are such broad subjects that it’s like selecting from an unlimited menu of issues.  We could discuss GDPR or CCPA or a data breach or technological trends or creating a mutually beneficial data… Read More

We are All Baby Shark (in Data Tracking)

Data is amazing. You know that already. You’re told it every moment of every day. We are literally told or shown by ESPN, our kids report cards, our treadmills, our wristwatch, our Alexa, our Google, our Siri, our phones, and our apps that data is here and has the answer. In some cases this is… 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

The Values Crisis

Let’s talk about values. We sometimes talk about “use cases” for data, which is a shorthand for “how do you intend to make this particular information set perform a new category of work or combine with other information sets to perform a new category of work.”  It’s important, as we discuss in Data Leverage, to… 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

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 Global View on Privacy

We don’t know if you’ve noticed this, but every once in a while we’ll write a blog post about GDPR or CCPA or American data law.  Yes, we do spend an awful lot of time talking about the law in Europe and the United States. That’s probably not a big surprise, given that this is… Read More

Takeaways from the Cardlinx Forum 2019

Last week, we had the chance to attend Cardlinx’s forum in San Francisco, one of the four or so they host worldwide every year.  Cardlinx is an industry association for merchants, credit card issuers, and rewards/loyalty programs, with an eye towards establishing industry standards for “mobile payments, in-store offers, card-linking” and other technology tied to… Read More

Is “Creepy” A Subjective Measure?

Speaking last week on an industry panel, I advised the audience of digital marketing professionals to “Stop doing creepy things with your data and your customers’ data.” To which I was told by the moderator, “Well, ‘creepy’ is a little subjective, though, isn’t it?” “You know it when you see it,” I replied. About five… Read More