Month: September 2020

Q&A: Technologist Cory Doctorow

‘We Can Pass Laws That Make Being Anti-Privacy Unprofitable’

By Jeff Benson

Second of three parts.

Technologist and author Cory Doctorow doesn’t buy the argument that we can’t regulate Big Tech because they’ll move overseas.

In today’s Digital Privacy News interview, the second of three parts, he said that U.S. laws allowed monopolies to expand across the globe, that changing those rules were “politically difficult” and that companies only cared about privacy if they could profit from it.

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European Court Spurns Challenge to UK Government Surveillance

By Robert Bateman

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) struck a severe blow to privacy advocates this month when it rejected a legal challenge to the U.K. government’s surveillance activities on procedural grounds.

The case was brought by advocacy groups, who argued that the government’s cellphone-hacking and surveillance violated European human-rights law.

The court ruled Sept. 3 that the case was inadmissible because the advocates had not exhausted the U.K.’s domestic legal procedures.

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Q&A: British Author Cory Doctorow

Breaking Up Monopolies Unleashes Innovation, Competition

By Jeff Benson

First of three parts.

Cory Doctorow is one of the world’s most prolific tech and science fiction writers.

In between releasing his second graphic novel, “Poesy the Monster Slayer,” in July and a sequel to “Little Brother” (due out in October), Doctorow managed to fit in a 27,000-word treatise on breaking up tech monopolies.

Published on OneZero late last month (and available for free to read), “How to Destroy Surveillance Capitalism” argues that the government needs to step up its antitrust efforts or else Facebook, Google and their ilk will invade people’s privacy with impunity.

In the first of a three-part interview, Doctorow told Digital Privacy News that breaking up monopolies helped tech grow, that Facebook won’t stop hoarding data on its own — and provided questions that really should be asked about Big Tech.

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Review: ‘The Social Dilemma’

True Confessions But No Real Answers

By Kelvin Childs

“The Social Dilemma,” a Netflix documentary-drama by director Jeff Orlowski, shows the common ground that undergirds a society relentlessly being fractured with each “like,” tweet and click on social media.

Orlowski, 34, is behind such hit nature documentaries as “Chasing Ice” (2012) and “Chasing Coral” (2017).

In “Social,” Orlowski parades numerous former founders, executives and engineers from the likes of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google, Apple, Uber and Firefox as if they are at a confessional — sounding the alarm about the Frankenstein they all had a hand in creating.

Yet, they disingenuously declare that no one’s fingerprints in particular are on the weapons they claim were formed from their work.

Tellingly, “Social” has no current representatives of the companies speaking to how — or, whether — they’ve course-corrected.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg appears in news footage evading congressional questions on his company’s responsibility and asserting that it can set things right with its algorithms.

But these former insiders and some outside critics, in rebuttal to Zuckerberg, say it can’t be done.

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Health Guidelines Seek to Protect Data Not Covered by HIPAA Law

By Myrle Croasdale

The “Wild West” of unprotected personal health data may be nearing an end.

Two organizations, the eHealth Initiative (eHI) and the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT), have proposed voluntary privacy standards to protect consumer-generated health information not covered by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

“With the rise of wearable devices, wellness apps and other online services, huge amounts of information reflecting users’ health are being created and held by entities that are not bound by HIPAA regulations,” Alexandra Reeve Givens, CDT’s president and CEO, told Digital Privacy News.

“We hope this framework serves as a first step to providing greater privacy rights and protections for consumers.”

Along with setting privacy standards, the draft framework recommends a self-regulatory enforcement model to hold participating organizations accountable.

Privacy experts, however, questioned the effectiveness of such an approach. 

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