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When What You Had for Lunch Comes Back To Bite You: A Social Media Experiment

By Jedidiah Bracy, CIPP/US, CIPP/E
Image from Jack Vale’s “Social Media Experiment”

This week here in the office, a number of folks sent us a link to a video-gone-viral of a social media experiment. Maybe you’ve seen it. The host, Jack Vale, wanted to know “how easy it would be to get personal information from complete strangers.” He did so by searching for public social media posts by using his own location, then identifying the posters in real life.

Pretty simple stuff. And, it turns out, getting their personal information was very easy … in a creepy way.

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Practical Privacy

COPPA, Behavioral Ads, Mobile Marketing and Other Big PPS Takeaways

By Annie C. Bai, CIPP/US

Jed’s not the only one who was having a good time at last week’s Practical Privacy Series in NYC. Across the way, many of us found that an entire day was barely enough to devote to Online Marketing. First, it was all about the kids, then it was all about the web, and finally we ended with a rousing roundtable on Big Data. Here are some of the tidbits from the day that caused me to take pause and grab my pen.

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Navigate

Is Your Privacy My Privacy? The Strange Tale of Martin Manley

By Jedidiah Bracy, CIPP/US, CIPP/E

We are social creatures. But we love our privacy, too. One of the reasons I love a good piece of fiction is that it often allows me into the minds of others in a very human way—often revealing personal struggles and deeply embedded worldviews in ways I might not have experienced. As such, I find that literature is an amazing way to come to understand the people and world around me.

But, I’m talking about fiction. And though an author’s narrative derives from personal experience, it’s couched in a story. Sometimes fiction mirrors reality so closely, real people are affected—I refer you to Thomas Mann’s roman à clef Buddenbrooks, which was so close to the people in his hometown, an entire family was scandalized.

Last week, a different kind of unfettered view into the mind of another human appeared on the Internet. And it’s not easy to grapple with.

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Opinion

Is Advising Clients To Clean Up Social Media After Filing a Lawsuit Questionable?

By K Royal, CIPP/US, CIPP/E

A recent article stirred up quite a bit of discussion among my LinkedIn friends.

Opposing counsel requested discovery of a plaintiff’s Facebook page. The plaintiff’s attorney advised him to clean it up and was suspended for five years from the practice of law. The disciplinary system actions states the suspension was for “violating professional rules that govern candor toward the tribunal, fairness to opposing party and counsel and misconduct.”

My immediate reaction on the title of the article “lawyer agrees to five-year suspension for advising client to clean up his Facebook account” had me on the side of the lawyer. It makes sense to clean up one’s image in a lawsuit—as long as doing so doesn’t hide incriminating evidence, etc. But in reading the article, and learning that this advice came after a discovery request, of course interfering with discovery orders would warrant discipline for an attorney. It has overtones of Enron’s paper-shredding party.

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Making the Case for Online Obscurity and Less Anonymity…Wait, huh?

By Jedidiah Bracy, CIPP/US, CIPP/E
From the blog Shea Allen Says…

Privacy has a problem.

That’s what Prof. Woodrow Hartzog told participants at our Navigate event earlier this summer. What does he mean by this? Is privacy dead? Well, no. Not necessarily. “The problem with privacy,” he said, “is that it doesn’t really mean anything; it has ceased to be an effective term to guide policy because it can mean so many different things.”

Besides such a protean definition, our traditional view of the public/private dichotomy is also part of the problem. Did you post “that comment” on Facebook last night? Oh, you did? Well, then, it’s not private. Or should it be? Why does it have to be either/or?

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