Monday, May 22, 2017

America’s dangerous Internet delusion; Washington Post, May 21, 2017

Robert J. Samuelson, Washington Post; America’s dangerous Internet delusion

"We are addicted to the Internet and refuse to recognize how our addiction subtracts from our security. The more we connect our devices and instruments to the Internet, the more we create paths for others to use against us, either by shutting down websites or by controlling what they do. Put differently, we are — incredibly — inviting trouble. Our commercial interests and our national security diverge.

The latest example of this tension is the “Internet of things” or the “smart home.” It involves connecting various devices and gadgets (thermostats, lights, cameras, locks, ovens) to the Internet so they can be operated or monitored remotely."

ILLINOIS ADVANCES “RIGHT TO KNOW” DIGITAL PRIVACY BILLS; Electronic Frontier Foundation, May 22, 2017

Adam Schwartz, Electronic Frontier Foundation; ILLINOIS ADVANCES “RIGHT TO KNOW” DIGITAL PRIVACY BILLS

"EFF supports Illinois legislation (SB 1502 and HB 2774) that would empower people who visit commercial websites and online services to learn what personal information the site and service operators collected from them, and which third parties the operators shared it with. EFF has long supported such “right to know” legislation, which requires company transparency and thereby advances digital privacy."

How to Fight Back Against Revenge Porn; New York Times, May 18, 2017

Niraj Chokshi, New York Times; 

How to Fight Back Against Revenge Porn

"Consider criminal action

Despite increasing awareness about the issue, many officials may still be unaware of legal protections in place for victims of nonconsensual porn, according to the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative. So victims should researchstate laws targeting nonconsensual porn before approaching the authorities.

And while the decision to prosecute lies with the government, victims can help by providing documentation. “In order to have a successful prosecution, you’ve got to have evidence,” Ms. D’Amico said.

Victims may help to strengthen a case, and penalty, by highlighting violations of related laws, including those aimed at child pornography, harassment, stalking, extortion and copyright. The Initiative maintains a list of such laws and encourages victims to bring printed copies when filing a police report."

Monica Lewinsky: Roger Ailes’s Dream Was My Nightmare; New York Times, May 22, 2017

Monica Lewinsky, New York Times; 

Monica Lewinsky: Roger Ailes’s Dream Was My Nightmare

"Our world — of cyberbullying and chyrons, trolls and tweets — was forged in 1998. It is, as the historian Nicolaus Mills has put it, a “culture of humiliation,” in which those who prey on the vulnerable in the service of clicks and ratings are handsomely rewarded.

As the past year has revealed, thanks to brave women like Gretchen Carlson and Megyn Kelly, it is clear that at Fox, this culture of exploitation wasn’t limited to the screen. The irony of Mr. Ailes’s career at Fox — that he harnessed a sex scandal to build a cable juggernaut and then was brought down by his own — was not lost on anyone who has been paying attention...

None of this is to say that we shouldn’t have a credible conservative point of view in our media — quite the opposite. If we’ve learned nothing else from the 2016 presidential election, it’s that we must find a way to foster robust and healthy discussion and debate. Our news channels should be just such places.

So, farewell to the age of Ailes. The late Fox chief pledged Americans fair and balanced news. Maybe now we’ll get it."

How the Right and Left (and Everyone Else) Reacted to Roger Ailes’s Death; New York Times, May 18, 2017

Jonah Engel Bromwich, New York Times; 

How the Right and Left (and Everyone Else) Reacted to Roger Ailes’s Death

"Dr. Jeffrey Jones, the director of the Peabody Awards, which celebrate public service from media figures and organizations, was unsparing in his criticism of Mr. Ailes, saying that, “no single individual has done more harm to American democracy in the last generation.”

“He ushered in the post-truth society,” Dr. Jones wrote in an emailed statement. “Through a constant drumbeat of fear, anger, and hatred, he turned citizen-on-citizen. He helped craft an enormous gulf of distrust between people and news.”"

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Sir Harold Evans’ New Book Is a Master Class in How to Write; Daily Beast, May 20, 2017

Malcolm Jones, Daily Beast; Sir Harold Evans’ New Book Is a Master Class in How to Write

"Like George Orwell, Evans understands in his bones that words are not just pretty things, that in the wrong hands they can mislead, betray, and even cause great harm. Beginning on page one and running right through to the end of the book is an iron spine of fair play and honesty. “This book on clear writing is as concerned with how words confuse and mislead, with or without malice aforethought, as it is with literary expression,” he writes in the introduction, and then circles back on the last page of the book to drive home the point once more: “The fog that envelops English is not just a question of good taste, style, and esthetics. It is a moral issue.”"

"Magic Words";, May 21, 2017

Bil Keane, Family; "Magic Words"

Saturday, May 20, 2017

HOW TO OPT OUT OF TWITTER'S NEW PRIVACY SETTINGS; Electronic Frontier Foundation, May 19, 2017

Gennie Gebhart, Electronic Frontier Foundation; 


"Since Wednesday night, Twitter users have been greeted by a pop-up notice about Twitter’s new privacy policy, which will come into effect June 18:
Contrary to the inviting “Sounds good” button to accept the new policy and get to tweeting, the changes Twitter has made around user tracking and data personalization do not sound good for user privacy. For example, the company will now record and store non-EU users’ off-Twitter web browsing history for up to 30 days, up from 10 days in the previous policy."

White House looking at using ethics rule to weaken special investigation: Sources; Reuters via CNBC, May 20, 2017

Reuters via CNBC; White House looking at using ethics rule to weaken special investigation: Sources

"The Trump administration is exploring whether it can use an obscure ethics rule to undermine the special counsel investigation into ties between President Donald Trump's campaign team and Russia, two people familiar with White House thinking said on Friday."

Justice Dept. to review possible ethics conflicts involving Mueller’s former law firm; Washington Post, May 18, 2017

Matea Gold and Rosalind S. Helderman, Washington Post; Justice Dept. to review possible ethics conflicts involving Mueller’s former law firm

"Newly appointed special counsel Robert S. Mueller III will undergo a Justice Department ethics review that will examine possible conflicts of interest regarding his former law firm, which represents several figures who could be caught up in the probe into Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election.

Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said Thursday that the agency will conduct a background investigation and detailed review of conflict-of-interest issues, a process outlined in the regulation governing special counsels under which he was appointed...

Ethics experts said they anticipate that the Justice Department will grant a waiver, noting that Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein would have taken Mueller’s past employer into consideration when selecting him."

Friday, May 19, 2017

What Do Twitter’s Privacy Changes Mean For You?; CBS DFW, May 19, 2017

CBS DFW; What Do Twitter’s Privacy Changes Mean For You?

"“Twitter’s announcement is bad news for online privacy. The company dropped Do Not Track and gave advertisers access to more user data,” said Marc Rotenberg, president of the nonprofit Electronic Privacy Information Center. “Also, all of the settings now default to disclosure, which means users have to go in and change their privacy settings.”

If you are in the U.S., move to Europe. Besides achieving your dreams of finally living in a tiny flat in Paris with a stray cat named Gaston and a mustached baker named Olivier, you will also have stronger online privacy protections."

Boy, 11, hacks cyber-security audience to give lesson on 'weaponisation' of toys; Agence France-Presse via Guardian, May 16, 2017

Agence France-Presse via Guardian; 

Boy, 11, hacks cyber-security audience to give lesson on 'weaponisation' of toys

"“Most internet-connected things have a Bluetooth functionality ... I basically showed how I could connect to it, and send commands to it, by recording audio and playing the light,” [Reuben Paul] told AFP later.

“IOT home appliances, things that can be used in our everyday lives, our cars, lights refrigerators, everything like this that is connected can be used and weaponised to spy on us or harm us.”
They could be used to steal private information such as passwords, as remote surveillance to spy on kids, or employ GPS to find out where a person is, he said. More chillingly, a toy could say “meet me at this location and I will pick you up”, Reuben said."

Gene pattern research prompts privacy concerns; Stanford Daily, May 19, 2017

Elise Most, Stanford Daily; 

Gene pattern research prompts privacy concerns

"Professor of Biology and senior author of the paper Noah Rosenberg was able to match over 90 percent of datasets comprised of 13 genetic markers to sets of 642,563 markers in which the sets of 13 were not included.
CODIS, or the what the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) describes as its “program of support for criminal justice DNA databases,” formerly depended on these 13 markers before recently converting to a 20-marker system. The researchers reached 99 percent accuracy when they used datasets of 30 genetic markers.
Although these findings, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, may assist wildlife researchers or archaeologists dealing with incomplete sets of DNA, Rosenberg told Stanford News that the results also have consequences for laws and practices surrounding genetic privacy."

Can You Copyright Your Dumb Joke? And How Can You Prove It's Yours?; NPR, May 17. 2017

Laurel Wamsley, NPR; 

Can You Copyright Your Dumb Joke? And How Can You Prove It's Yours?

"In 2008, law professors Dotan Oliar and Christopher Sprigman published a paper that explored the norms comics had established to protect their intellectual property: their jokes...

Can you really copyright a dumb joke?

"The question really focuses on originality, and there is no freestanding barrier to copyright extending to a joke on any topic ... so long as that joke meets the fairly minimal requirements for originality," says Perzanowski. "That means it has to demonstrate some low level of creativity and importantly that it not be copied from some other source."

"Copyright will give you protection for this specific arrangement of words," he says, but not for a whole subject matter.

When it comes to topical comedy, he says, the question is whether one can separate an idea (which can't be copyrighted) from its expression (which can).

Judge Sammartino agrees. "[T]here is little doubt that the jokes at issue merit copyright protection," she writes, citing the relevant case law, "noting originality requires only independent creation of a work that 'possess[es] some creative spark, "no matter how crude, humble or obvious" it might be.'"

However, she adds, the jokes here "are similarly constrained by their subject matter and the conventions of the two-line, setup-and-delivery paradigm."

The result is that for O'Brien's jokes to infringe on Kaseberg's copyright, they must be "virtually identical," one step below verbatim."

Americans Want More Say in the Privacy of Personal Data; Consumer Reports, May 18, 2017

Bree Fowler, Consumer Reports; Americans Want More Say in the Privacy of Personal Data

[Kip Currier: Take a look at Consumer Reports' latest survey data on U.S. consumers' concerns about privacy and their personal data: significant majorities want more control over what data is collected and more transparency (not less!) regarding what Internet service providers can and can't do with that personal data.

Then consider this May 18, 2017 disconnect: "The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), led by chairman Ajit Pai, voted two to one to start the formal process of dismantling “net neutrality” rules put in place in 2015."]

"The latest CR Consumer Voices survey reveals that people have been increasingly worried about the issue in 2017. Seventy percent of Americans lack confidence that their personal data is private and safe from distribution without their knowledge, according to the nationally representative survey of 1,007 adults conducted in April.

That number climbed from 65 percent since we first asked about the topic in January.

Respondents to the April survey also said they want more control over what data is collected. Ninety-two percent said that internet service providers, such as Comcast and Verizon, should be required to secure permission from users before selling or sharing their data. [Bold and larger font added for emphasis]

The same proportion thinks consumers should have the right to request a complete list of the data an internet service provider or website has collected about them.

Finally, respondents spoke out about how such data may be used to charge online shoppers different prices for the same goods and services—without consumers knowing about it. This kind of dynamic pricing can be based on factors from age to browsing history to home address. Sixty-five percent of respondents oppose the practice.

Though consumers say they want stronger privacy protections, federal actions are moving the rules in the opposite direction."

"Modern Life"; Bizarro, May 19, 2017

Dan Piraro, Bizarro; "Modern Life"

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Deputy attorney general appoints special counsel to oversee probe of Russian interference in election; Washington Post, May 17, 2017

Devlin BarrettSari Horwitz and Matt Zapotosky, Washington Post; Deputy attorney general appoints special counsel to oversee probe of Russian interference in election

"The Justice Department has decided to appoint a special counsel to investigate possible coordination between Trump associates and Russian officials seeking to meddle in last year’s election, according to Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein.

Robert Mueller, a former prosecutor who served as the FBI director from 2001 to 2013, has agreed to serve in the role, Rosenstein said."

Comey documented 'everything he could remember' after Trump conversations; CNN, May 16, 2017

Pamela Brown, CNN; Comey documented 'everything he could remember' after Trump conversations

[Kip Currier: In my Managing and Leading Information Services course, one week's module is devoted to "Managing Legal Issues". In that module I walk students through the importance of documenting and how to do it well. Former FBI Director James Comey's documenting practices, revealed yesterday, vividly illustrate why documenting is such an important skill set and responsibility. And how documenting can potentially serve as both offensive and defensive evidence for an individual and/or organization.]

"Former FBI Director James Comey wrote in a memo that President Donald Trump asked him to end the investigation of national security adviser Michael Flynn, according to a source familiar with the matter.
Comey was so appalled by the request that he wanted to document it, the source said. Comey shared it with FBI senior officials, according to the source.
Why did he do it?
    Comey would write down everything that happened -- the good and the bad.
    "Everything he could remember," the source said.
    "You realize something momentous has happened and memories fade so he wanted to memorialize it at the earliest time," the source said. The source said it was not common practice for Comey to document conversations with senior officials unless he thought it was significant."

    Trump’s Leaky Fate; New York Times, May 16, 2017

    Frank Bruni, New York Times; 

    Trump’s Leaky Fate

    "This much leaking this soon in an administration is a powerful indication of what kind of president we have. He is so unprepared, shows such bad judgment and has such an erratic temper that he’s not trusted by people who are paid to bolster him and who get the most intimate, unvarnished look at him. Some of them have decided that discretion isn’t always the keeping of secrets, not if it protects bad actors. They’re right. And they give me hope."

    The 25th Amendment Solution to Remove Trump; New York Times, May 16, 2017

    Ross Douthat, New York Times; 

    The 25th Amendment Solution to Remove Trump

    "One does not need to be a Marvel superhero or Nietzschean Übermensch to rise to this responsibility. But one needs some basic attributes: a reasonable level of intellectual curiosity, a certain seriousness of purpose, a basic level of managerial competence, a decent attention span, a functional moral compass, a measure of restraint and self-control. And if a president is deficient in one or more of them, you can be sure it will be exposed.

    Trump is seemingly deficient in them all. Some he perhaps never had, others have presumably atrophied with age. He certainly has political talent — charisma, a raw cunning, an instinct for the jugular, a form of the common touch, a certain creativity that normal politicians lack. He would not have been elected without these qualities. But they are not enough, they cannot fill the void where other, very normal human gifts should be."

    Privacy concerns as China expands DNA database; BBC News, May 17, 2017

    BBC News; 

    Privacy concerns as China expands DNA database

    ""Mass DNA collection by the powerful Chinese police absent effective privacy protections or an independent judicial system is a perfect storm for abuses," Sophie Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch said in a statement.

    DNA collection can have legitimate policing uses in investigating specific criminal cases, she explains. "But only in a context in which people have meaningful privacy protections."
    "Until that's the case in China, the mass collection of DNA and the expansion of databases needs to stop.""

    Consumer Reports: Your kid's online privacy: Connected toys; Consumer Reports via WSAW, May 16, 2017

    Consumer Reports via WSAW; 

    Consumer Reports: Your kid's online privacy: Connected toys

    "It’s no secret that sharing personal information online comes with risk. But what if toys were also making it possible for hackers to access both you and your children’s information? Consumer Reports has some stern warnings about a new generation of toys."

    Tuesday, May 16, 2017

    More CEOs are getting forced out for ethics violations; Washington Post, May 15, 2017

    Jena McGregor, Washington Post; More CEOs are getting forced out for ethics violations

    "If it seems like more CEOs are getting cast aside amid ethical blunders or corporate scandals, they are. According to a new report on CEO succession from Strategy&, PwC’s strategy consulting business, the percentage of CEOs getting pushed out for questionable behavior — lapses including environmental disasters,  insider trading, résumé fraud, accounting scandals and sexual misconduct — is up over the past five years."

    The experts were right: Trump isn’t fit to be president; Washington Post, May 16, 2017

    Anne Applebaum, Washington Post;

    The experts were right: Trump isn’t fit to be president

    "We live in an age that denigrates knowledge, dislikes expertise and demonizes experts. But now we have proof that experts are sometimes right...

    At the time, Trump dismissed this letter as “nothing more than the failed Washington elite looking to hold onto their power.” But the “elites” were right. The experts were right.  Next time maybe more people will heed them."

    Facebook Gets Slap on the Wrist from 2 European Privacy Regulators; New York Times, May 16, 2017

    Mark Scott, New York Times; 

    Facebook Gets Slap on the Wrist from 2 European Privacy Regulators

    "Facebook suffered a setback on Tuesday over how it uses the reams of information it collects about users worldwide, after two European privacy watchdogs said that the social network’s practices broke their countries’ data protection rules.

    The announcement by Dutch and French authorities was part of a growing pushback across the European Union about how Facebook collects data on the bloc’s roughly 500 million residents. Some European governments, notably in Germany, are considering hefty fines against the company and other social media giants if they fail to crack down on hate speech and misinformation on their networks.

    As part of their separate announcements on Tuesday, the Dutch and French officials said that Facebook had not provided people in their countries with sufficient control over how their details are used. They said that the social network had collected digital information on Facebook users as well as nonusers on third-party websites without their knowledge."

    A Twenty-First Century Framework for Digital Privacy; LAWFARE, May 15, 2017

    Jeffrey Rosen, LAWFARE; 

    A Twenty-First Century Framework for Digital Privacy

    "Editor's note: This is a crosspost from the National Constitution Center's website. Video of the Center's event on digital privacy is available below...

    Advances in technology raise numerous important (and difficult) legal questions:
    • How can we strike the right balance between security and privacy in the digital age?
    • How might we translate Fourth Amendment doctrine in light of technological advances and changing consumer expectations of privacy?
    • What constitutional and statutory protections should there be for data stored in the Cloud, and under what circumstances and with what constraints should the government get access to it?
    • Does the government have to tell consumers when it searches their email accounts or accesses their data?
    • And whose law should govern access to data in our borderless world—a world where data is often stored on servers in other countries and can be transferred across borders at the snap of a finger?
    The National Constitution Center, with the support of Microsoft, has assembled leading scholars and thought leaders to publish a series of five white papers, entitled A Twenty-First Century Framework for Digital Privacy.  We’ve asked these contributors to reflect on the challenges that new technologies pose to existing constitutional doctrine and statutory law and to propose solutions—doctrinal, legislative, and constitutional—that translate the Constitution and federal law in light of new technologies.  The overarching question we asked contributors to address is how best to balance privacy concerns against the need for security in the digital age.  These contributors represent diverse points of view and experiences and their papers reflect the Constitution Center’s commitment to presenting the best arguments on all sides of the constitutional issues at the center of American life."

    Fair Use Too Often Goes Unused; Chronicle of Higher Education, May 10, 2017

    Noah Berlatsky, Chronicle of Higher Education; 

    Fair Use Too Often Goes Unused

    "Only if authors can’t track down permissions holders, [Julia] Round [editor of the journal Studies in Comics] said, does the journal consider printing small images under the legal doctrine of fair use.

    But while publishers want authors to get permission, the law often does not require it. According to Kyle K. Courtney, copyright adviser for Harvard University in its Office for Scholarly Communication, copyright holders have certain rights — for instance, if you hold rights for a comic book, you determine when and by whom it can be reprinted, which is why I can’t just go out and create my own edition of the first Wonder Woman comic. But notwithstanding those rights, fair use gives others the right to reprint materials in certain situations without consulting the author — or even, in some cases, if the author has refused permission...

    Seeking permission may seem safe, but it can have serious ethical and practical downsides."

    Monday, May 15, 2017

    Fox News undermines a free, independent press; Washington Post, May 15, 2017

    Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post; Fox News undermines a free, independent press

    "With the departure of credible centrist and conservative voices and professional journalists (e.g. Megyn Kelly, Greta Van Susteren, George Will, Major Garrett), the alternative-reality programming seen in the Fox evening and afternoon lineup and on “Fox & Friends” now overwhelms the rest of the operation. In the firing of Comey, we see Fox coverage devoted to carrying the false Trump narrative (the idea to fire him came from Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein) long after every other network had ferreted out the true story. Fox, in short, now is practically indistinguishable from Breitbart — and in some cases, RT. It has become the purveyor of falsehoods and propaganda, not a member of an independent media tasked with holding elected leaders accountable."

    Under Trump, inconvenient data is being sidelined; Washington Post, May 14, 2017

    Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post; Under Trump, inconvenient data is being sidelined

    "Across the vast breadth of the government, agencies have traditionally provided the public with massive data sets, which can be of great value to companies, researchers and advocacy groups, among others. Three months ago, there were 195,245 public data sets available on, according to Nathan Cortez, the associate dean of research at Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law, who studies the handling of public data. This week it stood at just under 156,000.

    Data experts say the decrease, at least in part, may reflect the consolidation of data sets or the culling of outdated ones, rather than a strategic move to keep information from the public. But the reduction was clearly a conscious decision."

    The World Is Getting Hacked. Why Don’t We Do More to Stop It?; New York Times, May 13, 2017

    Zeynep Tufekci, New York Times; 

    The World Is Getting Hacked. Why Don’t We Do More to Stop It?

    "There is also the thorny problem of finding money and resources to upgrade critical infrastructure without crippling it. Many institutions see information technology as an afterthought and are slow in upgrading and investing. Governments also do not prioritize software security. This is a sure road to disaster.

    As a reminder of what is at stake, ambulances carrying sick children were diverted and heart patients turned away from surgery in Britain by the ransomware attack. Those hospitals may never get their data back. The last big worm like this, Conficker, infected millions of computers in almost 200 countries in 2008. We are much more dependent on software for critical functions today, and there is no guarantee there will be a kill switch next time."

    Can you teach ethics to algorithms?; CIO, May 15, 2017

    James Maclennan, CIO; 

    Can you teach ethics to algorithms?

    "The challenges of privacy

    Addressing bias is a challenge, but most people understand that discrimination and bias are bad. What happens when we get into trickier ethical questions such as privacy?
    Just look at Facebook and Google, two companies that have mountains of information on you. A recent report uncovered that Facebook “can figure out when people as young as 14 feel ‘defeated,’ ‘overwhelmed’ and ‘a failure.’” This information is gathered by a Facebook analysis system, and it is really easy how such information could be abused.
    The fact that the information uncovered by such an algorithm could be so easily abused does not make the algorithm morally wrong. Facebook decided to create the algorithm without considering the ethical implications of manipulating depressed teenagers to buy more stuff, and thus the responsibility falls on Facebook and not the algorithm. 
    Facebook at minimum needs to encourage its own technological staff to think about the ethical consequences of any new algorithm they construct. If Facebook and other technological companies fail to consider protecting user privacy by constructing algorithms, then the government may have to step in to ensure the peoples’ rights are protected."

    Speaker's Corner: Privacy needs better protection; Law Times, May 15, 2017

    Nathaniel Erskine-Smith, Law Times; 

    Speaker's Corner: Privacy needs better protection

    "There are also concerns that our current model of informed consent needs updating. The majority of Canadians admit to not reading privacy policies for mobile apps, and a recent privacy sweep — in which 25 privacy enforcement authorities participated — found that privacy communications of Internet-connected devices are generally poor and fail to inform users about exactly what personal information is being collected and how it will be used. It is difficult to reconcile these facts with the goal of meaningful consent.

    This is especially important as more devices collect more information about our lives. From smart meters that track our energy consumption to fridges that track what we eat, Cisco Systems estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices by 2020. As a consumer, I want convenience and will trade some of my privacy. As a citizen and as a lawyer, I want laws that substantively protect my privacy. 

    In general terms, we should mandate privacy by design. Governments and third parties ought to anonymize our personal information, and our government should follow Australia’s example and make it an offence to re-identify published government data sets. We should also look beyond the law to protect our data. 

    Take Estonia. On the one hand, it has embraced big data through maintaining a national register with a single unique identifier for all citizens and residents. Customer service is improved and information is exchanged more easily. On the other hand, the same system ensures that citizens can correct or remove data easily and can see which officials have viewed their data. 

    In summary, we need to embrace new laws and new technology. We need not sacrifice our privacy."

    Sunday, May 14, 2017

    Bark app helps protect kids from cyberbullying and suicide, while safeguarding their privacy; CNBC, May 13, 2017

    Deborah Findling, CNBC; 

    Bark app helps protect kids from cyberbullying and suicide, while safeguarding their privacy

    "Bark, a mobile safety app created by a startup founded by a Twitter alumnus, is hoping to do just that. The software employs machine learning to detect signs of negative behavior on a teen's phone, including cyberbullying, sexting, depression and suicidal thoughts.
    Parents initially sign up through Bark's website, then get their children to connect their social media accounts. The software will read the accounts, but will not store or share any of the data.
    Founder and CEO Brian Bason got the idea for Bark while still working for Twitter, which had acquired his previous start-up called Niche. With two kids just old enough to have phones, he felt that even though he worked in technology, he didn't know how to keep track of them online.
    "Our view is that there are a lot of tools out there that just expose all of the kids' activity," Bason told CNBC. "This preserves the child's privacy and builds trust."

    Consumers Less Confident About Healthcare, Data Privacy, and Car Safety, New Survey Finds; Consumer Reports, May 11, 2017

    Consumer Reports; Consumers Less Confident About Healthcare, Data Privacy, and Car Safety, New Survey Finds

    "Distrust About Data Privacy

    There was even wider agreement from consumers across political party lines about their concern over digital privacy. An overwhelming majority—92 percent of Americans—say internet companies and websites should be required to get their permission before selling or sharing their data with other companies. And the same percentage believe internet companies and websites should be required to provide consumers with a complete list of the data they’ve collected about them, if asked.
    A full-time worker from the western part of the country made clear the opposing forces at stake online: “Do we want to make money, or look out for the privacy of people?” said the man, 20, who identified himself as independent.
    The survey was conducted a few days after Congress passed a resolution, which Trump signed, undoing the FCC’s new broadband privacy rules that would have limited the ability of internet service providers to profit from using consumers’ personal information."

    Friday, May 12, 2017

    Privacy Awareness Week; Asia Pacific Privacy Authorities (APPA), May 2017

    Privacy Awareness Week

    Privacy Awareness Week (PAW) is an initiative started by APPA back in 2006. Since then, it has been held every year to promote and raise awareness for numerous privacy issues and the importance of protecting personal information. As a part of PAW, members hold a variety of different events and undertake various activities for individuals, businesses and government organisations.
    This year, PAW will be held throughout May. Each APPA member will be nominating a week in May to celebrate PAW.
    To see when your country will be celebrating PAW and to see the different initiatives that will be occurring in your country, contact your local privacy and data protection authority. You can find their PAW information below.

    'Echo Is Not Spying On You,' Amazon Lawyer Declares; Inside Counsel, May 12, 2017

    C. Ryan Barber, Inside Counsel; 

    'Echo Is Not Spying On You,' Amazon Lawyer Declares

    "We designed the Echo devices very intentionally to only listen when spoken to … and also be incredibly conspicuous when it is listening,” [Ryan] McCrate said, referring to the ring of LED lights that flash when Alexa perks up.

    McCrate’s brief remarks on the panel sounded at times like a promotional pitch touting the lengths the company took to protect consumer privacy. The Echo, he said, was inspired by Star Trek—and Amazon knew that its customers would be familiar with a virtual assistant as a science-fiction concept. But the company, he added, also realized there would be “well-founded” concerns about a product like the Echo."

    Thursday, May 11, 2017

    In the world of technology, it all keeps coming back to privacy; CBC News, May 2, 2017

    Ramona Pringle, CBC News; 

    In the world of technology, it all keeps coming back to privacy

    "All about privacy
    I can't call it writer's block, because the problem isn't that I don't have anything to say. The real issue is that it all revolves around one topic: privacy. Or rather, the ever-increasing lack thereof. The troubling reality is that while there are seemingly all sorts of interesting conversations happening in the world of technology, they almost all lead back to that big gaping privacy black hole, the issue that sucks up all the air in most debates about modern technology...

    You see, no matter what the specific story is — a virtual assistant's new features, a company's mind-reading ambitions, or the quest to turn our workforce into cyborgs – a constant theme keeps popping up.
    Privacy is the elephant in the room, unavoidable at every turn, and too big to ignore. And it will keep coming up week after week, especially as the Internet of Things evolves from being a concept to a new reality. As the world's biggest tech companies all race towards the next big thing, maintaining our privacy seems at risk of being bulldozed. 
    Ultimately, we're in the middle of a big cultural negotiation between privacy and convenience. The truth is, it's not a zero-sum game, and it doesn't need to be either or. In theory, we should be able to enjoy all of the features that these new gadgets promise, without giving up our privacy. But in practice, it's a topic we can't ignore, and a battle we need to be willing to address."

    Wednesday, May 10, 2017

    How Privacy Became a Commodity for the Rich and Powerful; New York Times, May 9, 2017

    Amanda Hess, New York Times; How Privacy Became a Commodity for the Rich and Powerful

    [Kip Currier: Excellent article on the growing "Privacy Divide" between the rich and not-rich, as well as philosophical and political Privacy Divides over what "privacy" even means and entails in the digital age. The author also provides a nice "quick and dirty" overview on how notions about privacy have evolved over time].

    "In an 1890 paper called “The Right to Privacy,” Samuel Warren and Louis Brandeis cited “recent inventions and business methods” — including instant photography and tabloid gossip — that they claimed had “invaded the sacred precincts of private and domestic life.” They argued for what they called the right “to be let alone,” but also what they called “the right to one’s personality.”

    Now that our privacy is worth something, every side of it is being monetized. We can either trade it for cheap services or shell out cash to protect it. It is increasingly seen not as a right but as a luxury good. When Congress recently voted to allow internet service providers to sell user data without users’ explicit consent, talk emerged of premium products that people could pay for to protect their browsing habits from sale. And if they couldn’t afford it? As one congressman told a concerned constituent, “Nobody’s got to use the internet.” Practically, though, everybody’s got to...

    How often have you shielded the contents of your screen from a stranger on the subway, or the partner next to you in bed, only to offer up your secrets to the data firm tracking everything you do?"