On Privacy, Free Speech, & Related Matters – Richard Posner vs David Cole & Others | Concurring Opinions

This is the seventh installment in the “Posner on Posner” series of posts on Seventh Circuit Judge Richard Posner. The first installment can be found here, the second here, the third here, the fourth here, the fifth here, and the sixth one here.

Privacy has been on Richard Posner’s mind for more than three-and-a-half decades. His views, as evidenced by the epigraph quotes above, have sparked debate in a variety of quarters, both academic and policy. In some ways those views seem oddly consistent with his persona – on the one hand, he is a very public man as revealed by his many writings, while on the other hand, he is a very private man about whom we know little of his life outside of the law save for a New Yorker piece on him thirteen years ago.

On the scholarly side of the privacy divide, his writings include: [Read more]

NSA Spying Scandal: SPIEGEL Stands Behind Merkel Cell Phone Spying Report | Spon

In June, German Federal Prosecutor Harald Range opened an official investigation into allegations the NSA spied on German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone. So far, though, he hasn’t made much progress.

The US signals intelligence agency has ignored all questions submitted by Range’s investigative authority. And Germany’s own foreign intelligence agency, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), hasn’t provided any further assistance. [Read more]

Should privacy regulation be more than just data protection? | The Guardian

On 3 October 2014 Google was fined 2,250 Canadian dollars (£1,230) for publishing an image on its Street View feature that showed a woman’s cleavage. Despite blurring her face, her car registration number and house were clearly recognisable in the photo, negating any attempts at anonymisation. The Quebec court ruled that the woman’s privacy had been invaded and that she’d experienced a loss of personal dignity after facing a barrage of sexual harassment after the picture was published.

Privacy is a difficult topic for science and technology policymakers to grapple with, both viciously complex and floatingly abstract. The generally accepted definition of privacy is the “right to be let alone”. In contemporary policy circles, however, this definition bumps up against further issues around what constitutes public or private space; and a need to protect the integrity of the body. As the Google case indicates, data protection is not the sole issue that privacy policy has to deal with: privacy of behaviour and action; communication. “Body characteristics” (biometrics) also come into play. Technologies that collect, process, store and disseminate personal data are developing rapidly and becoming ubiquitous: think of the fitness tracker that knows rather a lot about where you go running; or the social network platform that can link together tagged pictures of your face with details of where you went to school. [Read more]

Bloomberg View Op-ed: Facebook’s phony privacy battle | The Salt Lake Tribune

When Facebook made user names, profile pictures and other personal information publicly available a few years ago, founder Mark Zuckerberg said that people had started to care less and less about privacy. He told TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington: “That social norm is just something that has evolved over time.” And he said that Facebook was changing to keep up.

But the reality is that technology companies — with Facebook leading the charge — pushed that norm to change. Corporate surveillance was the proposed trade-off for “free” Internet services, a deal that has now extended to most mobile apps. Users challenged this bargain, but over time, the idea that social networks and apps mine and sell our personal data became accepted. [Read more]

Tech, media firms back Microsoft in digital privacy case | Washington Post

Ten groups of top technology, media and business organizations on Monday filed legal briefs in support of Microsoft’s argument to a federal appeals court that the U.S. government cannot issue a search warrant to obtain customers’ e-mails held in another country.

The unusually high number of friend-of-the-court briefs and the breadth of groups that signed on reflect how significant the issue of privacy in the digital age is to U.S. industry. [Read more]

Where Tech Giants Protect Privacy | New York Times

FROM their glass-fronted office parks and start-up lofts in Silicon Valley, American tech companies oversee ever-expanding global empires.

Google has a bigger slice of the online search market in Europe than it does at home, where rivals like Microsoft still give it a run for its money. More than 80 percent of Facebook’s 1.3 billion users live outside the United States, with Brazil and India among the social network’s most important markets. And Apple, which generates roughly 60 percent of its revenue overseas, now sells more iPhones and iPads in Shanghai and St. Petersburg than it does in San Diego. [Read more]

Privacy and security in cyberspace: right of all or luxury of the few? | open Democracy

The universal right to privacy embodied in international human rights law is increasingly dependant on privileged access to digital security; nowhere is this link demonstrated more clearly than in the experience of civil society organisations (CSOs).

As detailed in a recently released Citizen Lab report, civil society actors on which the public relies to check abuses of power and advance human rights agendas – nongovernmental organisations, independent media and journalists, activists, and others – are regularly subjected to targeted digital attacks that undermine their privacy and compromise sensitive information. Such attacks include malicious emails that may infect the target’s computer when links or attachments are opened, or malicious code delivered through compromised websites. [Read more]

Edward Snowden and the Downside to the Industrial Internet of Things | Forbes

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is the use of Internet of Things technologies by industrial organizations to deliver better performance and enhance competitive advantage — not only in an individual facility, but across an industrial organization’s supply chain and throughout its value network.

There have been many articles forecasting the explosive growth of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).   Without a doubt, IIoT things – industrial smart devices that connect to the Internet and are able to collect useful data – will greatly outnumber people by many times within a decade.  When one considers that IIoT things can include a company’s transportation assets, industrial equipment, the products made, and the containers that carry products across a supply chain, it is easy to see why this explosive growth is inevitable. [Read more]

Edward Snowden calls Amazon’s encryption practices ‘morally irresponsible’ | Geek Wire

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden doesn’t want the government snooping on what you are researching or purchasing on Amazon.com, or what he called “the world’s largest library.”

“Let’s encrypt your browsing habits. Let’s encrypt the world’s library,” he said, during a talk on Friday at the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank in Washington, D.C., reports The Washington Post. [Read more]

Sony leaks, CIA report highlight the ‘Snowden Privacy Paradox’ | townhall

The ongoing leaks of confidential business data from Sony Pictures Entertainment and the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee report on the use of enhanced interrogation techniques by the Central Intelligence Agency have something in common. Call it the “Snowden Privacy Paradox.”

The Sony leaks and the so-called torture report are being celebrated by transparency cheerleaders who hypocritically want the strictest privacy safeguards applied to them and to those who share their worldview, but who inadvertently undermine everyone’s privacy (including their own) by aggressively promoting a culture of transparency. [Read more]


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