Posted in June 2013


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


The Tension Between Innovation and Application Privacy Regulation

By Kenesa Ahmad, CIPP/US

Today’s discussions about application privacy revolve around smartphones and tablets. However, the app ecosystem is evolving significantly beyond this to encompass emerging technologies, such as wearable computing—e.g., fitness accessories and smart eye wear. These trends raise questions about how to regulate app privacy in a way that will keep pace with rapid technological innovation and consumer adoption.

More from Kenesa Ahmad


Tough Choices: Balancing Personal Privacy with the Public Good

By Jedidiah Bracy, CIPP/US, CIPP/E

This week’s barrage of news coverage of the leaked surveillance programs run by the National Security Agency got me thinking about another story we ran about a group of scientists who have created an alliance for genetic research.

Obvious connection, right?

More from Jedidiah Bracy


Telephone Records and PRISM—The First Job for the Privacy & Civil Liberties Oversight Board

By Peter Swire, CIPP/US

Front pages have picked up the report from The Guardian that the National Security Agency (NSA) is currently collecting the telephone records of millions of customers of Verizon. Many observers believe that other telecom providers may be under similar court orders.

The scope of the warrant, as reported by The Guardian, is broad: “Under the terms of the blanket order, the numbers of both parties on a call are handed over, as is location data, call duration, unique identifiers, and the time and duration of all calls. The contents of the conversation itself are not covered.”

More from Peter Swire

Privacy Engineering

What Misconceptions Do Consumers Have About Privacy?

Control of personal information in the digital space, and particularly on mobile devices, presents a unique design challenge. Most people aren’t aware that their personal data is being collected and shared. Many users don’t take the time to validate their expectations and most never read privacy policies, only becoming aware of such concerns when something happens that doesn’t meet their expectations—such as seeing their friend’s picture in a Facebook ad, or seeing banner ads that match their most recent purchase.

More from Ilana Westerman