Posted in December 2013

The Year in Review

2013: The Year of Privacy

Privacy Perspectives word cloud

If there ever was a “year of privacy,” surely it was 2013. A year that ends with dictionary.com selecting “privacy” as “word of the year;” with privacy making front-page headlines in The New York Times and The Washington Post (not to mention The Guardian) on a weekly, indeed almost daily, basis; with cross-Atlantic ties stretched to the limit over privacy issues, the UN passing a privacy resolution and armies of lobbyists spinning BCRs and Do-Not-Track in Washington bars and Brussels cafes—ladies and gentlemen, 2013 was the year of privacy.

More from Omer Tene

Opinion

Can Plaintiffs’ Lawyers Fill the Role of a DPA?

By Jeff Kosseff, CIPP/US

In recent months, authors on this blog have argued about whether the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or state attorneys general serve as the de facto data protection authority in the U.S.

Both sides are correct.  The FTC and state attorneys general help set the general requirements for privacy and data security, just as DPAs do in Europe.  But another group is playing a role in the shaping of U.S. privacy and not always in a way that benefits society.

More from Jeff Kosseff

Opinion

Yes, Consent Is Dead. Further, Continuing To Give It A Central Role Is Dangerous

By Eduardo Ustaran, CIPP/E

At the just-concluded IAPP Data Protection Congress in Brussels, the audience heard a bold proposal from closing keynoter Viktor Mayer-Schönberger: “The naked truth is that informational self-determination has turned into a formality devoid of meaning and import.”

Contemporary ideas of notice and consent, he argued, are a farce.

In the moment, he was quite compelling. It is important that we as privacy professionals from time to time question the underpinnings of our training and, especially, our industry and profession.

More from Eduardo Ustaran

Big Data

Data-Driven Dating: How Data Are Shaping Our Most Intimate Personal Relationships

When we talk about Big Data, we mostly refer to large-scale conglomerations of information about our collective behavior, aggregated by governments and big corporations. But there’s another way data have become big: Our interpersonal connections are being infiltrated by data to an unprecedented degree, changing how we relate to one another. A focus on everyday data-collection practices reveals that we are active participants in gathering, interpreting and deploying data—not just passive data points about whom data is collected and aggregated.

Nothing makes the rise of the data mentality clearer than the proliferation of tools for creating and using data in budding romantic relationships.

More from Karen Levy

Privacy Art

Sending a Message Through Privacy Art

By Jedidiah Bracy, CIPP/US, CIPP/E
NYT Word Frequency, by Jer Thorpe

In one of Portlandia’s early episodes, “Bryce Shivers” and “Lisa Eversman” reveal how they spruce things up and make them pretty by putting birds on them. They even put a bird on a bird and get more than they bargained for when an actual bird makes an appearance—giving new meaning to deconstruction.

The clip reminded me of the protean definition of art. Is wrapping a building in cloth art? Put some cloth on it! Well, to some, yes. So without going into the classic, “what is art?” tangent, let’s just say that art means different things to different folks.

Which brings me to LinkedIn passwords.

More from Jedidiah Bracy

Opinion

Think the FTC Is the De Facto U.S. Data Protection Authority? State AGs May Have Something To Say

By Divonne Smoyer, CIPP/US
and Aaron Lancaster, CIPP/US

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has understandably been the focus of much attention in the data privacy world. The FTC is considered by many to be the primary U.S. data privacy regulator and this blog has gone so far as calling the FTC the U.S.’s de facto Data Protection Authority (DPA). We respectfully disagree. The FTC is facing unprecedented challenges, while state attorneys general (AGs), who have similar—and in some instances greater—authority, are taking more and more steps to protect the privacy of their citizens.

More from Divonne Smoyer

Practical Privacy

On Making Privacy Policies More Simple and User-Friendly

By Allen Brandt, CIPP/US, CIPP/E, CIPM
From the BBC’s cookie notice

David Vladeck, while he was heading up the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, frequently railed against the current generation of consumer-facing privacy policies, and he has data to back him up: Consumers just don’t read or understand the things.

More from Allen Brandt