Posted in June 2013


Why the New Senator Markey May Be the Most Influential Privacy Congressman in History

By Peter Swire, CIPP/US

Edward Markey, elected tonight to the Senate in a special election in Massachusetts, is quite possibly the most influential member of the House of Representatives in the history of privacy legislation.

Markey has been involved in countless privacy issues since he came to the House in 1976, as part of the post-Watergate generation of reformers in Washington. For the past decade, he has been the Democratic co-chair with Republican Joe Barton of the Privacy Caucus in the House.

More from Peter Swire


Is Personal Data Better Protected from Government Surveillance in Europe than the U.S.? Maybe Not

At the House Oversight Committee hearing on the NSA issues, Deputy Attorney General James Cole cited our work at Hogan Lovells on EU national security access to data. He was referring to our recent whitepaper, “A Sober Look at National Security Access to Data in the Cloud,” which examined the process for national security collection of data in selected foreign jurisdictions.

So, is personal data better shielded in Europe from the prying eyes of national security investigations than it is in the United States? That is a general assumption many people have, even those in the privacy field, but it may not be a correct assumption.

More from Christopher Wolf

Point - Counterpoint

Can We Adapt to the Internet of Things?

The so-called “Internet of Things” is emerging and it promises to usher in profound changes that will rival the first wave of Internet innovation. As microchips and sensors are increasingly embedded into almost all the “smart devices” that we own and come into contact with, a truly “seamless web” of connectivity will finally exist. At the same time, unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), or private drones, are about to become far more ubiquitous. This means many modern technologies will suddenly gain mobility as well as connectivity.

The benefits associated with these developments will be enormous.

More from Adam Thierer

Point - Counterpoint

Privacy in a World of Persistent Surveillance

Much of the privacy discussion over the past couple of weeks has focused on the NSA and the potentially large amounts of data they’re collecting on American citizens not suspected of crimes. As we consider the ramifications of these revelations, keep in mind that the NSA is not collecting that information itself from its clandestine headquarters in suburban Maryland—it’s demanding the data from companies who have collected the data while delivering services to their users. In light of the NSA controversy, perhaps it’s time to take stock of the ever-increasing capacity of companies to collect and maintain extensive stores of data about individuals.

More from Justin Brookman


French Court Takes On the Privacy and Hate Speech Dilemma

In my last Perspectives blog post, I discussed how, in order to curtail online hate speech, privacy sometimes needs to take a back seat, as anonymity is often used as a privacy shield by some propagating hate.  While online services can—and sometimes should—require posters to use their real names to discourage hate speech, the U.S. government cannot require the use of real names to fight legally-allowed—even if repugnant—hate speech online because of First Amendment protections for ugly free expression that anonymity promotes.

Such a limitation of government action against anonymity, for those publishing hate speech, does not exist in France, however. An ongoing French case involving Twitter and anti-Semitic tweets raises interesting issues concerning anonymity, privacy and hate speech.

More from Christopher Wolf


Have the NSA Leaks Just Helped the PETs Industry?

By Jedidiah Bracy, CIPP/US, CIPP/E

Okay, at this point, we all know about the NSA leaks—if not, where have you been?!?

But, did you know it was the best traffic week to-date for anonymous search site DuckDuckGo?

According to this VentureBeat post, direct searches on the search site were up 26 percent on Wednesday alone. DuckDuckGo founder Gabriel Weinberg told Ricardo Bilton that this is further proof that people want alternative,...

More from Jedidiah Bracy


The Impact of PRISM on International Data Flows

By Eduardo Ustaran, CIPP/E

An exasperatingly awkward challenge affecting the current data globalisation process is the prohibition on exports of data that is present in a number of the world’s data privacy laws.  This is something that European organisations have had to live with since the mid-90s, and frustratingly, the trend is being extended to other jurisdictions. Disregarding the reality of Internet and mobile communications, some policy-makers and regulators insist on building some sort of physical or at least digital fortress around the data within their jurisdiction with the aim of preventing unwanted interferences. In the most extreme cases, international data flows are only allowed under the express authorisation of a national regulator that will seek to scrutinise the safeguards in place to the finest detail.

More from Eduardo Ustaran