Category: Q&A

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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Q&A: Journalist, Author David Burnham

‘Society has gotten less interested in privacy’

By Aisheh Barghouti

First of two parts.

David Burnham is a former investigative reporter who, during his tenure at The New York Times, covered everything from corruption in the New York City Police Department to the inner workings of the Internal Revenue Service.

His groundbreaking work on corruption in the police department led to revelations documented in the 1973 film “Serpico.” Burnham was also the journalist labor union activist Karen Silkwood (on whom the 1983 film “Silkwood” is based) was on her way to meet when she was killed in a car accident that remains suspicious.

Now 87, he is co-director and co-founder of the nonprofit Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), a nonpartisan research organization that maintains a database of federal enforcement, staffing and financial data.

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Q&A: Varonis Field CTO Brian Vecci

Too Much Company Data ‘Is Open to Everybody’

By Patrick W. Dunne

Some of the most significant breaches the world has seen in the past few years — Tesla, Target, Capital One — all came from within the company.

About a third of all data breaches involve insiders according to the 2019 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report.

Brian Vecci, field chief technology officer at Varonis Systems Inc. in New York, tells Digital Privacy News that companies are vulnerable to such attacks in many ways.

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Q&A: Indiana University’s Fred H. Cate

Updating HIPAA for a Modern Time

By Patrick W. Dunne

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was signed into law in 1996 by President Bill Clinton.

HIPAA restricts who gets access to a patient’s private health data. This allows Americans to keep their health status and identity a secret from unwanted third parties. 

However, the law has not been without its share of critics. One is Dr. Fred H. Cate, a professor and vice president for research at Indiana University in Bloomington. As an expert in privacy and security laws, he has much to say about HIPAA. 

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