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EC Proposal to Pay with Personal Data Could Undermine Privacy and Harm the Online Ecosystem

If data is the new oil of the digital economy, as is often said, consumers are the fossilized organic source; that is, while consumers provide the crude data, it is businesses that turn data into a valuable asset. The question of how to balance the rights of businesses and consumers in managing this digital resource is at the heart of a proposed Directive on contracts for the supply of digital content, otherwise known as the Digital Contracts Directive (DCD).

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Smart Condoms Suggest More than a Day Without Women

Sex and technology both raise challenging questions about privacy and personal autonomy, and the magnitude of these challenges only increases when the two intersect. Last week, for instance, British Condoms announced the world’s first “smart condom.” The i.Con Smart Condom is a wearable ring that promises to track sexual performance and potentially detect sexually transmitted infections. The iCon is just the latest example of a wearable that appeals to the baser desires of men. For instance, the product description references the ability to track how many positions have been “conquered.” It essentially gamifies sex, and while that needn’t be a bad thing, the i.Con portrays sexuality exclusively from a male’s perspective. This seems especially important to consider given today’s “Day Without a Woman,” where CDT coincidentally finds itself under(wo)manned. I find myself not in the best position to ask my female colleagues what their thoughts are, and I have to wonder whether British Condoms did any focus testing using women.

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From Televisions to Telescreens: Video Viewing Habits Are Sensitive Information

Last week, TV-maker Vizio found itself on the receiving end of a multimillion dollar settlement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the state of New Jersey for tracking user viewing behaviors in ways that were deceptive and unfair. The settlement exposed just how sophisticated the tracking practices deployed by smart televisions can be, and, more importantly, it offers an example of how seemingly innocuous data can be combined to create very sensitive information.

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Alexa, is Law Enforcement Listening?

Just days after Christmas, news broke that police in Bentonville, Arkansas, had issued a warrant to Amazon to turn over audio recordings from an Echo as part of a hot tub murder investigation. The sensational story brought with it a slate of headlines about new privacy concerns posed by the connected devices and the Internet of Things, but it also demonstrates how unclear legal standards and aggressive law enforcement interest in data can undermine the physical sanctity of our homes and inner lives.

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Test Driving Privacy and Cybersecurity: Regulation of Smart Cars

Getting privacy, security, and safety policies right for smart cars is crucial and there should be more public cooperation among federal regulators. NHTSA has the subject-matter expertise, while the FTC and FCC have different technical and enforcement capabilities in the realm on privacy and data security. Drivers will benefit by having all three agencies working together and on the same page.

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