Posted in October 2013

Trending

While Demanding NSA Reform, Let’s Avoid Watergate Stereotypes

By Jedidiah Bracy, CIPP/US, CIPP/E

You may have heard this weekend folks will be taking to the streets of Washington to demand an end to what many believe has become a surveillance state in light of the NSA’s programs revealed this past summer.

Whenever folks take to the streets, it’s easy to harken back to the 1960s and ’70s. And when it comes to Americans’ mistrust of government, it’s easy to conjure up images of President Nixon and Watergate. Well, in some ways it’s like 1974 all over again. Fears about government spying are back in the U.S. and as strong as ever.

More from Jedidiah Bracy

Opinion

Is the U.S. About To Get Its First European-Style Employee Works Council?

By Allen Brandt, CIPP/US, CIPP/E, CIPM

A recent article in The New York Times noted that every one of Volkswagen’s (VW) manufacturing plants in the world has an employee works council except one: the VW plant in Chattanooga, TN. Works councils are popular in VW’s home country of Germany and created by a directive in the European Union. This directive mandates employees have a voice in working with management about working conditions in their environment.

U.S. chief privacy officers (CPOs) and their European counterparts—data protection officers (DPOs)—often work with works councils in many areas but especially in protecting employee privacy. In fact, German DPOs and their corporate works councils have a reputation for being strong defenders in protecting privacy rights. Want to monitor e-mail or social media in the workplace? Centralize your HR records in the U.S.? Or ready to add a whistleblower hotline? The German Works Council Act, for example, empowers the works council to agree or refuse consent of many employee-monitoring devices. All of these require consultation in advance of the organization’s works council, and you can expect to hear a strong statement in support of protecting privacy rights!

More from Allen Brandt

EU Data Protection

What Next for the EU Regulation?

By Eduardo Ustaran, CIPP/E
Logo for the Council of the European Union

After nearly two years of deliberations, the European Parliament has come out of the legislative closet with its proposed view for a new EU data privacy framework. In many respects, the Parliament has surprised many of its critics by delivering a draft proposal which is more measured than the European Commission’s original text. On the whole, however, the Parliament’s draft represents a powerful statement in favour of people’s ability to control their own data.

More from Eduardo Ustaran

Opinion

Has the LIBE Committee Torpedoed the Safe Harbor?

The committee of the European Parliament charged with shepherding the proposed EU Data Protection Regulation—the LIBE Committee—finally has reported out an amended version of the Regulation. And despite the fact that a Commission-initiated review of the EU-U.S. Safe Harbor is pending, it appears the LIBE Committee effectively has called for the end of the Safe Harbor.

More from Christopher Wolf

Opinion

Galileo’s Problem and How Legislation Won’t Stop the Orbit of Technology

Like the Catholic Church’s Congregation of the Index of 1616, which outlawed the movement of the Earth around the sun, so too will the European Parliament restrict transborder data flows by legislative fiat this week.

Of course, the flow of data across borders will not cease or even diminish. Individuals will continue to carry iPhones on cross-Atlantic flights, “transferring data” (whatever that means) about their employers’ customers to “non-adequate” countries; and European individuals and businesses will access non-EU based websites and services, including banking, telecom, retail and cloud. Lawyers will be paid to produce paperwork, which bureaucrats will read; businesses continue to operate as before.

As Galileo said, “And yet it moves”.

More from Omer Tene

Trending

The Big Data Fight and What We Can Learn from Adam, Eve and Aldous Huxley

By Jedidiah Bracy, CIPP/US, CIPP/E

In the privacy world, we often hear the argument that, in order for the information economy to thrive, personal privacy must be leveraged—that there must be tradeoffs. In a recent blog post on the supposed death of privacy, I quoted a Harvard professor from 1970 as saying that a world with complete privacy is a utopian concept.

Enter Carnegie Mellon University researcher Alessandro Acquisti. This week, the well-known TED Talk series released a presentation by Acquisti from earlier this summer on “Why Privacy Matters”—and he kicked it off with the story of Adam and Eve, the original residents of the original utopia, and “their notorious privacy incident”:

More from Jedidiah Bracy

Opinion

The U.S. Doesn’t Have a National Data Protection Authority? Think Again…

“The U.S. has no national data protection authority.” Ask an EU official why he or she believes the EU’s data protection system to be superior to the U.S. model, and that will be at or near the top of the list. But tell that to Google. Or TJX. Or CBR Systems. Or any of the dozens of other companies that have been pursued by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over the past several years for alleged data security or privacy violations.

More from Jason Weinstein