A few weeks ago, Jason Weinstein introduced Privacy Perspectives readers to Sen. Patrick Leahy’s (D-VT) Personal Data Privacy and Security Act of 2014, a bill that would enact a federal security breach notification law. While Weinstein’s position is well taken and should be considered as this bill moves through Congress, I believe that there is another issue that deserves considerable debate. In addition to creating the federal breach notification law, §102 of Leahy’s bill would open the door to criminal liability for anyone who “intentionally and willfully” conceals the fact of a security breach. Adding criminal liability is not to be taken lightly, and it would be wise for the information privacy and security community to think critically about whether the bill’s criminal statute would be a prudent addition.
Following six months of sensational stories emanating from the Snowden-leaked files from the NSA, privacy professionals are taking stock. Recently, we have heard from the president on the subject of the needed balance between privacy and security, and needed reforms. And we have seen the report of the President’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies and the report of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board.
In an editorial in last Sunday’s New York Times (“Madison’s Privacy Blind Spot”), Jeffrey Rosen, a leading privacy scholar and the president and chief executive of the National Constitution Center, proposed “a constitutional amendment to prohibit unreasonable searches and seizures of our persons and electronic effects, whether by the government or by private corporations like Google and AT&T.”
This was a big week for emerging technology—particularly the Internet of Things (IoT)—as was showcased during the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, NV. Cisco’s CEO made headlines after saying the IoT has the potential to become a $19 trillion market and much of mainstream media reported on all the emerging technology: smart cars, wearable sensors and digestible computers—stuff we’ve been reporting on pretty regularly in the past year.
So it seemed fitting—and concerning—that the Associated Press reported on the wariness felt by Supreme Court justices on judges weighing in on technology and privacy issues. As Justice Elena Kagan said last summer, “The justices are not necessarily the most technologically sophisticated people.” And the court may face it’s biggest challenge yet, if, as many suspect, it eventually weighs in on the NSA’s metadata collection programs. Justice Antonin Scalia told a group of technology experts last July that elected branches of government are better equipped to grapple with security requirements and privacy protections.