Privacy Community

A Year of Privacy Discussions: Looking Back and Forging Forward

By Jedidiah Bracy, CIPP/US, CIPP/E

Hard for me to believe, but it’s now been a year since we rolled out Perspectives, our very first blog here at the IAPP. As an organization, we were veering into uncharted territory, but our ultimate purpose was and continues to be to provide a forum for the difficult or practical or funny or just plain outlandish privacy conversations to play out.

Just before Christmas, we posted our top ten blog posts of 2013—all based on page views. But now that a full calendar year has gone by, I thought it worth looking back with a bit more nuance.

More from Jedidiah Bracy


Do We Need A Constitutional Amendment Restricting Private-Sector Data Collection?

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.”

More from Adam Thierer

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


Reelection Statistics, Predictability, Big Data Drinking Games and Other Things I Learned This Week

By Jedidiah Bracy, CIPP/US, CIPP/E

Today, Forbes’ Kashmir Hill reported on the work of a man going by the name of “Puking Monkey.” This creative electronics tinkerer hacked into his RFID-enabled toll booth pass—a great feature for travelers, especially for us up here in the Northeast who regularly must pass through countless toll booths—and configured it to alert him whenever it was being read. What he discovered was that all over New York City, his E-Z Pass was being tracked—and not just by toll booths.

Of course, the surveillance capabilities are concerning, but this also stuck out to me:

More from Jedidiah Bracy


IAPP Westin Research Center

Privacy and Big Data: The Biggest Public Policy Challenge of Our Time?

Imagine the government could reduce the likelihood of a deadly terrorist attack by deploying a sophisticated algorithm to sift through the contents of all email correspondence of US citizens. Would the tradeoff of privacy for national security be justified from a public policy point of view? Would it make a difference whether such big data analysis helped avert one such attack per decade or two per year? What about if the database included not email contents but only “to/from” and “subject line” routing information? These questions and others have been hurled to the forefront of public debate by the recent revelations about the scope of NSA surveillance. Yet the benefits of big data – powerful new ways to collect, analyze and store massive amounts of information – exceed the realm of national security or even government usage and extend to areas such as scientific research, public health and energy conservation by the private sector.

More from Omer Tene