Contributor: Jedidiah Bracy, CIPP/US, CIPP/E

As editor of the Privacy Perspectives, Jedidiah Bracy moderates the many views, angles and, well, perspectives that inform information privacy and all its adjacent professions.

In addition to editing the Privacy Perspectives, Bracy facilitates the vetting, writing, editing and curation for the Daily Dashboard, the IAPP Canada Dashboard Digest, the IAPP Europe Data Protection Digest and the IAPP ANZ Dashboard Digest. He writes feature articles for The Privacy Advisor on information privacy law, data protection and the privacy profession.

When not mulling over the current state of information privacy in the digital age, Bracy enjoys watching international soccer, listening to his music library and tasting a finely wrought craft beer. You can follow him @jedbracy

Opinion

Revenge Porn, Public Shaming and Why It Needs To Stop

By Jedidiah Bracy

“Revenge porn” invades the privacy and dignity of women—and sometimes men—but the nefarious phenomenon gives rise to thorny legal issues that often leave victims unprotected—something about which I’ve recently written. If a victim’s photograph was a “selfie,” then said victim has a takedown right of action. But Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) protects service providers. This...

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Context

Making the Case for Surprise Minimization

By Jedidiah Bracy

Facebook made headlines last week—for a positive reason, this time—by announcing a new set of privacy controls to help users understand with whom they are communicating. Last month, at the IAPP Global Privacy Summit, Facebook CPO Erin Egan foreshadowed this roll out by exclaiming, “If people are surprised, that’s not good for me.”

What did she mean, exactly?

Well, in a Big Data and Internet of...

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Trending

Privacy Goes Mainstream at SXSW and TED2014

By Jedidiah Bracy
TED's Chris Anderson interviewing Edward Snowden via telepresence robot.

For those immersed in the privacy profession, the last few years have seen a dramatic change in the public’s awareness of privacy issues, rising from relative obscurity to downright mainstream. A personal litmus test for me, and many of my IAPP colleagues, revolves around how easy it is to explain what we do for a living:

“Yeah, so I work for a privacy association,” we might say over drinks at a...

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European Parliament Votes in Favor of Proposed Data Protection Reform

By Jedidiah Bracy

EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding says the vote makes EU data protection reform “irreversible”

The European Parliament voted Wednesday with overwhelming support for the proposed European General Data Protection Regulation. The procedural move ensures that the regulation, which has been in legislative process for more than two years, stays on the table, even after this May’s parliamentary...

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The Social Stuff

Putting Google Glass on Ann Landers

By Jedidiah Bracy

5-4. No, that’s not the vote count in a partisan Supreme Court decision or the score of a Major League Baseball Spring Training game.

It’s the number of “Dos” versus “Don’ts” on Google’s recently published blog post on the public implementation of the always-controversial Google Glass.

If you’re a Glass user, you might want to read it so you don’t get attacked:

Sarah Slocum, a contributor at ...

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Privacy Community

A Year of Privacy Discussions: Looking Back and Forging Forward

By Jedidiah Bracy

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...

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Trending

Revenge Porn, Copyrights and Data Ownership: Where Does Our Data Begin and End?

By Jedidiah Bracy

There was an interesting article in The Atlantic Monthly this week about revenge porn and copyright law—and I’m hoping some of you out there can help me.

But first, let me step back.

Of all the vile things on the Internet, revenge porn lingers at the top; and of all the vile people facilitating such vengeful filth is Hunter Moore—also known as the “Most Hated Man on the Internet.” Moore was...

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From the Wire

Tuning the Privacy/Customer Service Dial

By Jedidiah Bracy

@N

@mat

Twitter handles can be valuable commodities, and no story better demonstrates that than one described by web developer Naoki Hiroshima. Originally published on his personal blog and then republished with permission by TheNextWeb, “How I lost my $50,000 Twitter username” describes the ordeal he went through when a hacker decided he wanted Hiroshima’s Twitter handle @N—registered to...

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Was This a Week of "Tangible" Privacy Harm?

By Jedidiah Bracy
Photo taken from Ukranian protests in Kiev

Two events this week got me thinking of privacy harms. Now, I know the mere mention of “privacy harms” brings with it a lot of baggage and a ton of research, legal uncertainty, opinion and, well…ambiguity. I couldn’t possibly link to all the countless scholars, lawyers and activists who have tackled the question of what does, or does not, count as a harm, but I couldn’t help think that we may...

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The Supreme Court Is Scared of Technology. This Is How Privacy Pros Can Help

By Jedidiah Bracy

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...

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The Politics of Privacy in 2014

By Jedidiah Bracy

Though it’s not a presidential election year, 2014 looks to have some important campaigns here in the States. House Republicans will try to bolster their majority, while Democrats hope to maintain their hold on the Senate. Even some in Kentucky are looking to replace Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Of course, campaigns will run on a lot of the typically partisan issues—you know,...

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Privacy Art

Sending a Message Through Privacy Art

By Jedidiah Bracy
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...

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

By Jedidiah Bracy
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,...

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The Secret Life of Webcams

By Jedidiah Bracy

They’re easy to miss but almost ubiquitous. They’re convenient for video chatting and, most importantly, they’re great for selfies.

But webcams allow for some pretty nefarious things to happen, too.

Take, for example, the case of Jared James Abrahams. For more than two years, the now 19-year-old Abrams hacked into at least two dozen computers belonging to young women. BBC News reports:

“Court...

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Practical Privacy

The Data Breach Monster, Establishing Trusting Relationships and other PPS Takeaways

By Jedidiah Bracy
Wilson Sonsini's Gerry Stegmaier at this year's PPS in NYC

I had the pleasure this week of attending our Practical Privacy Series event in New York City. The program featured three tracks: Data Breach, Financial Services and Online Marketing. Though I didn’t get a chance to attend every session, each day was packed with professional and practical insight for privacy pros. I’ve attempted to put together some—just some—of the highlights. This barely...

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Transparency

What Acxiom Can Teach the NSA About Transparency

By Jedidiah Bracy

At last month’s IAPP Privacy Academy, I attended a session on “taming Big Data.” Much of the discussion involved the difficulties of conveying Big Data collection and use practices to consumers. As IAPP VP of Research Omer Tene has said, explaining the online tracking landscape would be equal to placing an average person in the cockpit of a fighter jet and asking him or her to fly it. Good luck...

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While Demanding NSA Reform, Let’s Avoid Watergate Stereotypes

By Jedidiah Bracy

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...

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

By Jedidiah Bracy

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...

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When Embarrassing Photos Metastasize Online and How One Person Took Control of It

By Jedidiah Bracy

What are you going to be for Halloween? If you do plan on dressing up, what are the chances photos of you in your glorious costume will be taken and posted online? Well, we’ll come back to this…

A few months back, I wrote about the nightmare of having an ex-spouse post embarrassing and vengeful photos of Lee David Clayworth online. The generativity of the Internet allows information to flow and...

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I Don't Know Which Will Go First—Rock 'n Roll or Privacy

By Jedidiah Bracy

"We're more popular than Jesus now. I don't know which will go first, rock 'n roll or Christianity." John Lennon

In an otherwise rambling, drunken session at Elektra Studios in 1969, the Doors recorded a blues-backed jam called “Rock is Dead.” Jim Morrison’s Nietzsche-influenced rant on rock’s death has been repeated by other musicians, reviewers and record store employees countless times. Punk...

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

By Jedidiah Bracy

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...

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Big Data

When “All About You” Isn’t Much About You at All

By Jedidiah Bracy

After much rumination, I “took the plunge” today and signed in to Acxiom’s new “About The Data” portal. For those who are not familiar, Acxiom is one of the world’s largest data aggregators. They create digital dossiers of people based on publicly available data, survey data and other “general data from other commercial entities,” and sell it to marketers trying to sell us stuff. They were also,...

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On Privacy Today: While Technology Hits Home Runs, Public Policy Strikes Out

By Jedidiah Bracy

Baseball fans, particularly those in the Detroit area, may have been struck recently with news that All-Star slugger Prince Fielder is going through a divorce. Was this just another case of some overpaid, spoiled, out-of-touch athlete causing a public scene and bringing painful attention to his private life?

No. Actually, this was not the case.

It all started last week when veteran teammate Torii...

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Navigate

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

By Jedidiah Bracy

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...

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Navigate

It’s About Data Assets, Not Privacy, Or Is It?

By Jedidiah Bracy

In his discussion of Universal People Sensors in Portsmouth, NH, earlier this summer, Alex “Sandy” Pentland made the case for the benefits of Big Data. He said it’s not about privacy, it’s about using data as an asset. For Pentland, the question is, “Who controls the data, and can you be secure in sharing it for particular purposes?”

As co-leader of the World Economic Forum Big Data and Personal...

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Navigate

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

By Jedidiah Bracy
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...

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The Internet of Things: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

By Jedidiah Bracy

A few months back, the Federal Trade Commission called for public commentary on the nascent phenomenon otherwise known as the Internet of Things (IoT). The inevitable move toward a vast set of sensors, RFID chips and machine-to-machine communications (M2M) that are connected to the Internet—made possible, in part, by opening up IPv6—is fully underway and the FTC wants to know what, if anything,...

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Navigate

Changing the Conversation: Why Thinking “Data is the New Oil” May Not Be Such a Good Thing

By Jedidiah Bracy

Information is power and Big Data is fueling our economy, prompting many to consider data the new oil. Clearly the value of data—particularly personal data—has never been as dynamic, exciting and potentially dangerous as it is now.

But is thinking of data as the new oil really such a good thing?

For data artist Jer Thorpe, the answer is no.

Thorpe, who challenged a slew of top privacy pros,...

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Trending

For Feds and DEF CON, the Party’s Over…For Now

By Jedidiah Bracy

News that the annual DEF CON hacking convention has barred U.S. government officials from attending the event—a first in its 21-year history—is just one more example of fraying trust and fallout from last month’s NSA surveillance disclosures.

The event brings together some of the brightest minds—from hackers to privacy advocates to artists—and is often a place where U.S. government officials can...

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Have the NSA Leaks Just Helped the PETs Industry?

By Jedidiah Bracy

Okay, at this point, we all know about the NSA leaks—if not, where have you been?!?

But, did you know it was the best traffic week to-date for anonymous search site DuckDuckGo?

According to this VentureBeat post, direct searches on the search site were up 26 percent on Wednesday alone. DuckDuckGo founder Gabriel Weinberg told Ricardo Bilton that this is further proof that people want alternative,...

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Tough Choices: Balancing Personal Privacy with the Public Good

By Jedidiah Bracy

This week’s barrage of news coverage of the leaked surveillance programs run by the National Security Agency got me thinking about another story we ran about a group of scientists who have created an alliance for genetic research.

Obvious connection, right?

The Broad Institute is a coalition made up of more than 70 healthcare, research and disease advocacy organizations located in more than 40...

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The Proposed EU Data Protection Regulation: Historic Privacy Framework or Swiss Cheese?

By Jedidiah Bracy

What a week for the proposed EU data protection regulation. Here is a roundup we’ve put together highlighting the various initiatives and concerns with this hugely important, but contentious legislation. European Data Protection Supervisor Peter Hustinx is concerned that if the regulation isn’t passed before the expiration of the current European Parliament, then “serious repercussions in terms...

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The Art of Turning Discarded Chewing Gum Into Your Portrait

By Jedidiah Bracy

Think of how much of ourselves we leave behind in public: A piece of chewing gum here. A strand of hair there. For smokers, perhaps a littered cigarette butt.

No big deal, right? Well, maybe the littering…

But what if someone could take your mundane, discarded items—filled with tiny strands of DNA—and turn them into a portrait of you?

Well, according to this NPR story, someone has already started...

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When Someone Goes All Crazy on You and Spams Your Online Profile With Nastiness

By Jedidiah Bracy

Last week I discussed the concept of the “digital tattoo” and how our online footprint can have lasting effects—for better or worse. Well, teens and others who were liberal with their use of Snapchat may be scrambling today as news comes out that the app’s 10 seconds-or-less deletion feature may be saving photos directly on the user’s phone. Uh-oh. Here’s what KSL.com in Utah is reporting:

...

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Did Andy Warhol Get It Wrong?

By Jedidiah Bracy

We have a framed New Yorker cartoon above our candy machine here in our IAPP office. Above the seriously tempting Skittles and M&Ms hangs an image of a businessman and a fortune teller with the caption, “In the future, everyone will have privacy for fifteen minutes.”

We could also say it this way, “In the future, everyone will have anonymity for fifteen minutes.”  

It’s beginning to look like the...

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Will Public Release of Privacy Audits Be the Wave of the Future?

By Jedidiah Bracy

It’s pretty rare for a company to issue a press release after its privacy practices have been independently audited. Perhaps some have—and readers, please let me know—but companies generally don’t do such things.

That is, until this week.

The Associated Press reported the following:

“Facebook provided a copy of its letter to the FTC, along with a redacted copy of the auditor’s letter, to The...

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Getting More Privacy Pros Into HR

By Jedidiah Bracy

Last Sunday, in The Globe and Mail’s “Nine to Five” column, an employee working for a U.S.-based public company expressed concerns about having to submit to a mandatory criminal background check. The employee had been at the company for 15 years, and until recently, only new employees would have to consent to a background check. But now,

"All employees must undergo a background check annually....

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Will Retailers Have To Dial It Back in 2013?

By Jedidiah Bracy

Offline tracking of consumers by retailers is popping up quite a bit in the news this week, which has me wondering what the end game might be.

First, we learned that Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) still isn’t happy with Euclid Analytics—a company that has reportedly recorded the shopping habits of nearly 50 million Americans. Here’s a snippet of his comments:

“People have a fundamental right to privacy,...

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Breaking News

Let's Go to the Video

By Jedidiah Bracy

TechDirt reported earlier this week about an exchange between Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-TX) and Google Law Enforcement and Information Security Director Richard P. Selgado. The incident occurred during a hearing on the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) held by the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations.

Gohmert queried Selgado on Google’s system of...

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