Category: Q&A

Q&A: Better Identity Coalition’s Jeremy Grant

Your Social Security Number Isn’t a Secret

By Lisa Rabasca Roepe

After roughly half of Americans’ Social Security numbers were compromised in the 2017 Equifax breach, Jeremy Grant, founder of the industry group, the Better Identity Coalition, proposed a way to stop identity theft.

His plan: Tell banks and credit agencies to stop using Social Security numbers to authenticate individual identity.

Instead, government agencies, such as state motor-vehicle departments or the Social Security Administration, could confirm a person’s identity — at the individual’s request. 

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Q&A: Georgetown Law’s Clare Garvie

Face Technology Could Stymie First Amendment-Protected Activities

By C.J. Thompson

“You are probably in a criminal face-recognition network,” is a chilling statement from “The Perpetual Line-Up: Unregulated Police Face Recognition in America,” a 2016 report by the Center on Privacy & Technology at the Georgetown University School of Law.

Given the high participation and law-enforcement surveillance at recent demonstrations against police brutality, the statement likely is true now for even more people.

As the report documented, facial-recognition regulation is spotty to nonexistent across the growing number of police departments that employ it.

The document included 30 recommendations that have served as a reference for lawmakers as demands for regulation and oversight have increased.

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Q&A: Psychologist Elaine Kasket

How Your Death Affects Your Privacy

By Bree Brouwer

Speaker and psychologist Elaine Kasket is a longtime scholar of death in the digital age.

Her recent book — “All the Ghosts in the Machine: The Digital Afterlife of Your Personal Data” — addresses modern privacy challenges from birth to beyond death.

Kasket told Digital Privacy News that privacy proponents should know everything possible about their digital afterlife and how to manage it.

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Q&A: Data-Protection Expert Emmanuel Pernot-Leplay

‘Each of These Laws Bears High Stakes for Global Economics, Politics and Our Daily Lives’

By Charles McDermid

Emmanuel Pernot-Leplay is making a career in the space where global privacy laws collide.

The 32-year-old from Paris graduated from law schools in France and China before earning a Ph.D. in comparative data-protection law at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, focusing on the U.S., China and the European Union. 

For the last two years, Pernot-Leplay has worked as a consultant at Deloitte Cyber Risk in Paris, advising clients on data-privacy compliance. This month, he starts a new position as a postdoctoral researcher in technology law at Tilburg University in the Netherlands.

“I first studied theories on the diffusion of laws and the movement of policies across jurisdictions to build the framework I use for comparing laws globally,” he said this week. 

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Q&A: Carnegie Mellon’s Aleecia M. McDonald

Social Media Privacy Is Not an Oxymoron

By Maureen Nkatha

In 2018, Cambridge Analytica exploited the private information of more than 50 million Facebook users to influence the 2016 presidential election.

This data breach and many others have prompted advocacy for tighter regulations.

Aleecia M. McDonald, an assistant professor at Carnegie Mellon University’s Information Networking Institute, says social media companies must protect users by allowing them to download their data, by disclosing what information has been “shared,” by letting them bar third-party access to their data and by providing ways to delete information completely.

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Q&A: Emsisoft Threat Analyst Brett Callow

Healthcare Firms Ripe for Ransomware Attacks During COVID

By Patrick W. Dunne

Healthcare companies long have been a prime target for hackers and scammers.

Last year’s Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report found that healthcare companies comprised 15% of breaches. The coronavirus now has only made such companies even more vulnerable to malicious outsiders.

Emsisoft threat analyst Brett Callow said that as many as 764 healthcare providers were affected by ransomware attacks last year.

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Q&A: UMass’ Erik Learned-Miller

Why Facial-Recognition Technologies Need Their Own FDA

By Jeff Benson

First of two parts.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has worked to ensure the nation’s food and drug supplies are safe and effective since its initial founding in 1927.

In a white paper released last month, “Facial Recognition Technologies in the Wild: A Call for a Federal Office,” four researchers argue that emerging facial-recognition tech needs its own version of the FDA. 

Co-author Erik Learned-Miller, a professor of computer science at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, believes facial-recognition technologies (FRTs) are too complex for legislation alone to be effective.

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Q&A: Kenyan Technology Expert Malcolm Kijirah

Contact-Tracing in Africa Faces Unusual Challenges

By Maureen Nkatha

Are contact-tracing apps the answer to reducing the spread of COVID-19 infections in Kenya?

Continued concerns among citizens and digital privacy advocates have raised questions on whether Kenyans are ready to risk their privacy to curb the spread of coronavirus in the East African nation.

Among the laws in place to combat cybercrime in Kenya include last year’s Data Protection Act and the 2014 policies developed from the African Union’s Malabo Convention.

But Malcolm Kijirah told Digital Privacy News that implementing these laws remained a challenge in Kenya. A lawyer in private practice, he also is a research fellow at the Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Technology Law at Strathmore University in Nairobi.

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Q&A: Journalist, Author David Burnham

‘It’s a Very Discouraging Time for Democracy’

By Aisheh Barghouti

Last of two parts.

David Burnham spent years as an investigative reporter.

Now 87, Burnham is co-director and co-founder of the nonprofit Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), a nonpartisan research organization in Syracuse, N.Y., that since 1989 has maintained and analyzed a vast database of federal enforcement, staffing and financial information.

During his long career as a journalist and at TRAC, Burnham has worked to hold federal agencies accountable for accomplishing their stated goals.

He is the author of “The Rise of the Computer State” (1983), about computers’ threat to privacy and democracy; “A Law Unto Itself” (1988), on the IRS and its abuses, and “Above the Law” (1996), spotlighting the U.S. Justice Department.

In today’s report, Burnham told Digital Privacy News that the collapse of the media is a primary reason privacy is in greater jeopardy today.

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