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GDPR: Avoiding Harms and Expanding Risk

Meaningful protections for individuals’ dignity and personal autonomy demand a broader understanding of privacy risk that considers user expectations and concerns. Privacy risks are not hypothetical, and over and over again, the emergence of these risks are the byproduct of companies discounting the expectations of users while seeing only benefits for themselves. European privacy law flips that script.

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3

When Online Dating Met Facebook

At this week’s Facebook Developer Conference, or F8, the social network company announced that it will begin introducing online dating features onto its platform. Its plans are especially intriguing because it effectively merges traditional dating with technology; Facebook can harness social signals used in offline dating – mutual friends, family connections, or school, work, and church networks – while also providing would-be daters the same frictionless experience and abundance of potential choices that characterize the online dating ecosystem. Facebook is promising more information in the months ahead, but incorporating a dating service directly into an existing social network platform raises some privacy and safety questions.

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4

Ethically Scraping and Accessing Data: Governments Desperately Seeking Data

As cities get smarter, their appetite and access to information is also increasing. The rise of data-generating technologies has given government agencies unprecedented opportunities to harness useful, real-time information about citizens. But governments often lack dedicated expertise and resources to collect, analyze, and ultimately turn such data into actionable information, and so have turned to private-sector companies and academic researchers to get at this information. As the maze of partnerships among public officials, private companies, academics, and independent researchers becomes more tangled, a clear path out of the status quo may be challenging. On-demand platforms, as they continue to disrupt local economies, continue to be a significant flashpoint.

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6

ePrivacy Regulation, one year later: Needs focus on communications confidentiality and information security

One year after the publication of the European Commission’s proposal for an ePrivacy Regulation (ePR), the debate about how the ePR should ‘particularise and complement’ the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has been contentious. This post looks at the progress made so far, and highlights the multiple issues to be resolved in the legislative process that lies ahead.

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7

NYC May Be at the Vanguard of Algorithmic Accountability in 2018

The New York City Council has taken a proactive step by enacting a bill establishing a task force to explore fairness, accountability, and transparency in automated decision-making systems operated by the city. This is a big deal. The use of these technologies by city governments have real impacts on citizens. Today, in New York City, algorithms have been used to assign children to public schools, evaluate teachers, target buildings for fire inspections, and make policing decisions. However, public insight into how these systems work and how these decisions are being reached is inadequate.

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8

What’s the Harm? CDT Comments to FTC Highlight Informational Injury Considerations

On Friday, CDT submitted comments to the Federal Trade Commission in advance of its December 2017 workshop exploring the contours of informational injury. Privacy violations are often highly contextual, making injury resulting from them difficult for individuals to evaluate and regulators like the FTC to quantify. Despite this practical challenge, the Commission can harness its existing tools to protect individuals from privacy harm; in our comments, we argue that the FTC should aggressively use its Section 5 unfairness powers to police business practices that create informational injury.

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9

Can Data Collaboratives Improve Nonprofit Data Governance?

While nonprofits are as susceptible to the data risks, threats, and pitfalls that for-profit companies routinely trip over, it can be easy to view dollars spent on privacy and security as money diverted from other important areas. Building on a report by GovLab, here are several of CDT’s recommendations for how “data collaboratives” can help nonprofits to improve their privacy and security practices.

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10

Financial Dashboards: Enhancing User Control Outside a Traditional “Privacy Dashboard”

Privacy dashboards are often put forward as a potential solution to the vexing problem of offering individuals control over their personal information. Industry actors have been iterating on the concept for years, but regulators of all stripes are well-positioned to provide useful guidance and best practices to improve dashboards as a form of user control.

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