Category: Q&A

Q&A: San Diego State’s Daniel Eaton

‘Work From Home Is Still Work and Subject to Work Rules’

By Victor Bradley

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in May, Gallup found that 52% of employed U.S. adults worked from home full-time, versus fewer than 6% as recently as 2017.

As such, employers increasingly have turned to technology to monitor and analyze employee behavior. These include AI-capable systems, which they claim to use big data-based insights to identify — even predict — problematic employee behaviors.

But Daniel E. Eaton, a lecturer in employment law and business ethics at San Diego State University’s Fowler College of Business, told Digital Privacy News that federal privacy rights for workers were limited in general, leaving this new frontier essentially unregulated.

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Q&A: South African Professor Uche Mbanaso

‘Privacy Means to Be “Left Alone,” But the Context Has Changed’

By Maureen Nkatha

South Africa’s Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA) took effect in July, becoming one of the few African nations to have adopted effective data-protection legislation.

The act defines how personal information can be collected and shared by public and private-sector organizations. They now must report all data breaches to the country’s information regulator.

Uche Mbanaso, a visiting senior lecturer at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, told Digital Privacy News that one of the greatest challenges to implementing the law is the fluidity of privacy data, which many infrastructures were not yet designed to handle.

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Q&A: Sen. Bill Cassidy, R- La.

Privacy Proposal Would Protect Consumers, COVID Health Data 

By Rachel Looker 

For Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., promoting public health while protecting consumer privacy goes hand in hand during a public-health crisis like COVID-19. 

He recently introduced the Exposure Notification Privacy Act to limit data-collection and usage while requiring the involvement from public-health officials in deploying contact-tracing apps and other exposure-notification systems.

The legislation would give consumers control over their health data by highlighting voluntary participation, user consent and the right to delete data on exposure-notification systems.

Cassidy introduced the bipartisan legislation in June with two Democrats, Sen. Maria Cantwell, Wash., and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Minn.

He told Digital Privacy News that Congress was overdue in examining at how personal health information was being marketed for commercial purposes, unbeknownst to users.  

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Q&A: Blogger Cory Doctorow

‘Companies Have Your Back When Having Your Back Is Good for Them’

By Jeff Benson

Last of three parts.

Cory Doctorow’s latest book, “How to Destroy Surveillance Capitalism,” has much to say about how using antitrust law can lead to better privacy.

But it has less to say about what consumers can do avoid online surveillance. 

In this final installment of a three-part interview, Doctorow told Digital Privacy News that the internet became centralized through mergers, that personal data leaks were unavoidable and that consumers should be battling for stronger penalties for companies that break the law.

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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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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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Q&A: University of Texas’ Murat Kantarcioglu

Online Voting Is Not Safe

By Patrick W. Dunne

With the concerns surrounding a U.S. Postal Service slowdown and voter suppression, discussions continue to grow about online voting for the 2020 election.

But many cybersecurity experts are skeptical, including Murat Kantarcioglu, a professor of computer science at the University of Texas at Dallas.

Kantarcioglu, who holds a doctorate in computer science from Perdue University, told Digital Privacy News that online voting lacked a meaningful method of self-auditing, which eroded trust in the system. 

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Q&A: Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C.

Bill Seeks to Limit Use of Police Cameras

By Mukund Rathi 

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., introduced the Federal Police Camera and Accountability Act in June 2019.

It was incorporated into the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act that recently passed the House of Representatives.

The bill regulates federal law-enforcement’s use of body and dashboard cameras.

Generally, it requires them to activate cameras when interacting with the public and to disclose videos on appropriate requests.

The legislation would affect the more than 30 federal law-enforcement agencies working in Washington.

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Q&A: The Markup’s Nabiha Syed

Privacy Has Its Roots in Outrage

By C.J. Thompson

Nabiha Syed is a media attorney and president of The Markup, an independent news website dedicated to illuminating concerning privacy issues.

“Part of our mission is to help people understand exactly how their privacy is being affected by technology,” she told Digital Privacy News.

The need for new privacy laws and regulation are primary components of a landscape that has never been more complex, cluttered — and, in many ways — cloaked.

But Syed remains encouraged by the current wave of public activism, as it is exactly what’s needed to provoke meaningful privacy protections. 

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Q&A: HIBP’s Troy Hunt

The Public Needs to Know Where Their Data Has Been

By Emilie Rodriguez

The Adobe data breach occurred in October 2013, the largest known at the time. Hackers exposed user account information, created a source code leak, and stole nearly 3 million encrypted customer credit card records.

An estimated 38 million users were affected.

After the incident, Troy Hunt, an Australian internet security professional, started the website “Have I Been Pwned” (HIBP).

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Q&A: Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore.

Privacy and Encryption Make Us Safer

By Jeff Benson

Last of two parts.

Sen. Ron Wyden is well aware that Washington isn’t monolithic.

The legislator works in a capital city stacked with regulatory bodies and law-enforcement agencies with their own agendas.

In today’s Digital Privacy News interview, the senior senator from Oregon discusses pushing the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to crack down on shady data brokers, the debate over creating encryption backdoors for the FBI — and why government agencies shouldn’t be able to buy personal data they’d otherwise need a warrant to get.

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Q&A: Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore.

‘There Really Is an Opportunity to Pass Meaningful Privacy Legislation’

By Jeff Benson

First of two parts.

Sen. Ron Wyden moved from the U.S. House of Representatives to the Senate in 1996 on the most analog of agendas: He was a big proponent of wood products, an industry that forested Oregon dominated.

Yet his move coincided with the advent of the digital age.

Before his House term ended, he crafted what became known as Section 230, which gave websites the power to moderate user-generated content while protecting them from libel laws applicable to newspapers.

The law helped turn internet companies into big business.

Now, Wyden is grappling with how to keep Big Tech from abusing citizens’ privacy.

Last year, he introduced the Mind Your Own Business Act, which would hold big-tech companies responsible for protecting users’ personal data — and impose criminal penalties for CEOs who lie to Congress or regulators about privacy.

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Q&A: STOP’s Liz O’Sullivan

Surveillance Disproportionately Affects Vulnerable Communities 

By Jeff Benson

Last year, with help from the nonprofit Urban Justice Center in New York, privacy advocates formed the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project (STOP). Their goal was to litigate against oversurveillance and push legislation that protects the rights of marginalized communities, who often are most affected by that surveillance.

STOP Technology Director Liz O’Sullivan told Digital Privacy News that government surveillance was a hallmark of the New York City Police Department (NYPD), which has used it to target Muslim Americans after the 9/11 attacks and could now quiet Black Lives Matter protests.

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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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