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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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