Posts filed under ‘Privacy and Big Data’

On Privacy: The Supreme Court Finally Got It Right!

By Mary Ludloff

Today is a landmark day for those of us concerned about privacy as it applies to our government agencies. In United States v. Jones the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that police must have a search warrant before using GPS tracking devices to surveil criminal suspects. While all justices agreed that the tracking device placed on Jone’s jeep violated the Fourth Amendment’s unreasonable search and seizure protection, the justices were divided on how far the ruling should have gone. Justices Alito, Ginsburg, Breyer, and Kagan said that “the court should have gone further and dealt with GPS tracking of wireless devices, like mobile phones.”

While I agree that the ruling did not go far enough, it certainly is a sign that the court understands that technology capabilities aside, we (all citizens) do have a right to privacy within the vehicles we operate and that placing a GPS tracking device on a vehicle requires a search warrant. I must confess that I have been poring over the oral arguments and trying to figure out which way the court would rule, but felt that it was too close to call. So while the rest of the world was focused on SOPA and PIPA last week (my esteemed co-blogger included), I was anxiously awaiting the court’s ruling. And thankfully, as a card carrying member of the high tech community and American citizen, it was well worth the wait! (more…)

January 23, 2012 at 11:40 am Leave a comment

A quick thought on #BlackoutSopa day.

By Terence Craig

In our book Privacy & Big Data that was written pre-SOPA, Mary and I spent a fair amount of time looking at the ways that big media interests are pushing both technical and legislative solutions that were inimical to both privacy and free speech. On this day when the Internet is raising its collective voice against one of the most ill thought laws of the Internet age, I thought it would be a great time to quote from the conclusion of Chapter 4 – The Stakeholders.

“Powerful groups, like the MPAA and RIAA and their international counterparts, have borrowed from advertising’s playbook and extended it to every device we own. Today, it’s not just about tracking our online behavior; it’s about tracking what we do within the “four walls” of any device that we own and being able to remotely control them without our permission. These technologies and policies could end up delivering a mortal blow to privacy as well as cede to the government and IP holders unprecedented control over what media we are allowed to consume and share. However you look at this, it’s a pretty high price to pay to support an old business model that is unable to adapt to new technology.”

Tell your congressperson – SOPA/PIPA is bad for the Internet, bad for free speech and bad for due process and should be rejected! More info on the law here.

January 18, 2012 at 2:30 pm 4 comments

PII Venture Forum: Session Videos Available

By Terence Craig

Mary and I had the distinct pleasure of presenting at the PII Venture Forum on the players and business models forming around PII.  As usual for a PII event, we learned more than we taught and had a great time meeting the other speakers and participants.

One presentation tip learned from the day: following a panel that includes uber VCs Fred Wilson and Roger McNamee, our friend Jim Adler from Intellus, David Glazer from Google and All things Digital’s Kara Swisher is like being the house band that is asked to follow The Who when Daltry still had the best voice in rock roll!

But Mary and I managed to survive and were happy with the results. You can see the video of our presentation here.

The blog is shutting its door for the Thanksgiving Holiday here in the US but we will back next week.  We wish you and your families all the best, whether you are celebrating Thanksgiving or not!

November 22, 2011 at 10:33 am 1 comment

Three Things Everyone Should Know About Privacy (in honor of the Engaging Brand)

By Terence Craig

Last week I had the privilege of being interviewed by Anna Farmery for her podcast, “the Engaging Brand.” The topic was our book (Mary is the co-author) “Privacy and Big Data.” For those of you who may not know, the Engaging Brand is a multiple awarding winning, business-focused podcast with a large international audience.  The interview was filled with insightful questions and will be posted this early next week (please check it out as well as their other great content here). Anna is a prolific twitter commenter about all things social media and is well worth following (@engagingbrand).    Anna asked me to follow up with a post that talks about three things that everyone should know about privacy for her listeners, so here we go:

  1. What happens in Vegas should stay in Vegas is a well know phrase and the Internet corollary is: What happens on the Web STAYS on the Web (forever).  Even if you trust the company you are sharing your information with, do you trust the person that buys your data from them, or the company they merge with, the government agency that serves them with a warrant, or the 14 year old that hacks their server? So keep it simple: Don’t share data that you are not comfortable with being public.
  2. Don’t assume that local laws will protect your privacy – privacy laws differ markedly and which laws that apply to your data is a guessing game. Bottom line:  the intersection of local and international privacy laws almost never leads to more privacy.
  3. Remember the positive – while it’s true that our lives are becoming a much more open book, it is also true that the actions of large corporations and governments are becoming more transparent as well. I firmly believe that this increased transparency will help the 21st century avoid some of the horrors of the 20th by ensuring that we know what is being done in our name.

Thanks again to Anna for this opportunity to reach out to her audience.  Please send me any questions or comments about the book, or privacy in general to big-privacy@patternbuilders.com or @terencecraig.  Also, we arranged for a special discount on our book, “Privacy and Big Data,” for The Engaging Brand audience:

  • 50% off the electronic version
  • 40% off the printed version

Simply enter AUTHD as the discount code at the O’Reilly book page.

October 26, 2011 at 3:09 pm Leave a comment

Don’t Miss It! O’Reilly Webcast: The Evolution from Private to Public, October 28

By Mary Ludloff

Just a short reminder post about our upcoming O’Reilly webcast that explores the concept of privacy in the digital age. Terence is a panelist and I am helping out (please say hi to me in the comments section as I will be fielding questions for the Q&A at the end of the discussion and providing assistance when needed).  I must confess to all of you that when the panelists signed on (Jim Adler, danah boyd, Heather West, Terence too!), I was jumping up and down with “giddiness.” This is not a word that I use lightly as I pride myself on maintaining a calm demeanor (really) but together this group pretty much represents the full spectrum of the privacy landscape that Terence and I cover in our book, Privacy and Big Data:

  • The companies that the panelists represent (Google, Intelius, Microsoft, and our very own PatternBuilders) are all, to one extent or another, driving the privacy debate.
  • The panelists are not shy to share their opinions and those opinions are, shall we say, diverse (or perhaps contentious might be a better word).
  • The panel questions (yes, I got a sneak peek) are designed to shine a light, not just on the privacy debate itself, but on how each panelist professionally and personally deals with privacy issues.

These folks are prolific writers, bloggers, twitterers (@jim_adler, @zephoria, @heatherwest, and @terencecraig), and speakers on all things related to privacy. What can I say? All we’re missing is a lawyer (no jokes please) but all the panelists have had to deal with legal issues and how they apply to company privacy policies so I think we’re covered!

The webcast is October 28, at 10:00 am Pacific—go here to sign up. I look forward to “commenting” with you!

October 25, 2011 at 3:25 pm 2 comments

O’Reilly Webcast On “The Evolution from Private to Public: Is There Privacy in the Digital Age?” Scheduled for October 28 (And it’s free)!

By Mary Ludloff

For those of you who attended our webcast on Privacy and Big Data (replays available) you may remember a little teaser at the end of it regarding an upcoming privacy panel that we are sponsoring. Well, details on the panel are now available and you can register for it here.  And I have got to say that it features a great group of privacy experts:

  • Natalie Fonseca, the moderator, is the co-founder of Tech Policy Summit and the Privacy Identity Innovation Conference.
  • Jim Adler, panelist, is the Chief Privacy Officer and General Manager of Data Systems at Intelius.
  • danah boyd, panelist, is a Senior Researcher at Microsoft Research (amongst many other affiliations) and is known for her work on youth engagement, privacy, and risky behaviors (some of her research is discussed in our book).
  • Terence Craig, panelist, is the CEO/CTO of PatternBuilders, a frequent blogger and speaker on privacy issues, as well as my esteemed co-author on our book “Privacy and Big Data.”
  • Betsy Masiello, panelist, is a Policy Manager on Google’s public policy team and is one of the leads for Google’s privacy efforts.

This esteemed panel is going to address “The Evolution from Private to Public: Is There Privacy in the Digital Age? Tune in on October 28, 10:00 AM PDT, for what promises to be a very lively discussion from panelists that are never shy about sharing their (varied) opinions as they take on the issue of how our private and public worlds are colliding in the digital age!

October 5, 2011 at 6:53 pm Leave a comment

Why I Dislike GPS Tracking (and My SmartPhone): Wired’s Article on Telecoms’ Retention of Personal Data

 By Mary Ludloff

Before I begin, I must admit my own personal bias: I have a love/hate relationship with personal devices and technology. Yes, I love that all the devices I now use have made my life so much easier in more ways than I can count (and keep track of). At the same time, I really do hate how much more information is captured about me and how there are so few regulations regarding the use of it. Now, if you read our (Terence and I co-authored) book on Privacy and Big Data or listened to our recent O’Reilly webcast you might not be surprised by this but, just in case, I needed to come clean before I dived into Wired’s article on how much data our major mobile providers are keeping about all of us. Put simply, it’s a lot.

The ACLU of North Carolina managed, under a Freedom of Information Act claim, to obtain a Department of Justice document entitled “Retention Periods of Major Cellular Service Providers.” This document (one page) was designed to help law enforcement agencies understand what information they could get from the major cellular service providers—Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T/Cingular, Sprint, Nextel, Virgin Mobile—as well as how long that data was retained:

“Verizon, for example, keeps a list of everyone you’ve exchanged text messages with for the past year, according to the document. But T-Mobile stores the same data up to five years. It’s 18 months for Sprint, and seven years for AT&T… That makes Verizon appear to have the most privacy-friendly policy. Except that Verizon is alone in retaining the actual contents of text messages. It allegedly stores the messages for five days, while T-Mobile, AT&T, and Sprint don’t store them at all.”

(more…)

September 30, 2011 at 3:03 pm 1 comment

Privacy and Big Data: Webcast Now Available!

By Terence Craig

Mary and I had a great time – and a couple of good arguments during our webcast “Privacy and Big Data: Is there room for privacy in the age of big data?” last week. The kind folks at O’Reilly have just made a recording available in case you missed it. You can find it here.  O’Reilly is also offering 50% off of all its Ebooks (offer expires September 28) including ours so go grab it.  The discount code B2SDEAL.  We would love to hear your comments on the webcast and the book – either as comments on this post or hit us up on twitter @terencecraig, @mludloff or bigprivacy@patternbuilders.com.

September 19, 2011 at 11:34 am Leave a comment

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