Is Your Smart Home Spying on You? Personal Data Issues with the Internet of Things

In the finale of the latest season of HBO’s Silicon Valley, a network of “smart” refrigerators were the unlikely heroes. In earlier episodes, the fictional Pied Piper company installed their innovative software – designed to compress and store peer-to-peer, shared data – in their home “smart” refrigerator. Due to some glitch, the software was downloaded by other refrigerators of the same model. Unknown to the company, the refrigerators continually backed up the data stored in Continue Reading →

The Use of Biometric Data for Personal Identification Purposes

Biometric identification technologies, once the realm of science fiction movies, have now become ubiquitous for many Americans. Roughly 90 million Americans own iPhones [1], which for several years, have used fingerprint scans in lieu of passcodes, and the most recent iPhone X, unveiled in September 2017, uses facial mapping technologies to identify owners. [2] Smartphone technology is just one of many uses for biometrics. Biometrics are also used by retailers to track and analyze the shopper experience [3]. Continue Reading →

Rapid DNA Testing: Verification or Collection Tool?

This year, the first local police precinct received and began using an on-site Rapid DNA testing device. Within 90 minutes, a cheek swab of any suspect can be run, exonerating or verifying their identity. If this program is a success, more criminal investigations will be solved with greater efficiency than ever before.  However, the limitations of the devices are pronounced. They cannot, for example, be used to help parse the controversy surrounding interpretation of complex Continue Reading →

Disney and RFID: What it Means for Privacy

Disney has always embraced cutting-edge technology, but in their theme parks, that technology tends to be behind the scenes. In the last decade, however, Disney’s Next Generation Experience, or “NextGen,” project has aimed to integrate technology overtly into the theme park experience by capitalizing on millennials’ use of smartphones to improve the park experience. Users with a smartphones can download the My Disney Experience app, which can be used to book dining reservations, access the Continue Reading →

Why should I care about EU privacy law?

As someone new to the US, it surprises me that lawyers and law students, even those interested in the technology sector or in privacy law, often have no reaction to the ‘GDPR’ or other aspects of EU privacy and data protection legislation.  The purpose of this article is to convince you to care about this suite of EU legislation which has noticeable global implications. Professor Anu Bradford noted the “unprecedented and deeply underestimated global power Continue Reading →

I Am My Own Man: The Ownership of Genetic Material

Our knowledge of DNA continues to expand and, by extension, so does our ability to manipulate it. Recently, researchers have created a viable organism with a chromosome incorporating pairs of synthetic bases. [1] Others have engineered an organism containing only the genes necessary for life. [2] In addition to advancing our understanding of the life sciences, which may indirectly enhance human welfare, working with genes also has direct applications to human health: for example, genetic Continue Reading →

A New Era for Privacy & Data Protection

On October 27, 2016, just days before a presidential election, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) passed new broadband consumer privacy rules.  The new rules were passed with a 3-2 vote—straight on party lines, with all the Democrats voting for the rules and the two Republicans voting against.  Now, however, the Republican commissioners have a majority and the new privacy rules could very well be overturned.  The new rules require internet service providers to obtain permission Continue Reading →

Digital Afterlife and How to Tweet Post Mortem

Carrie Fisher passed away on December 27, 2016, at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, after suffering a massive heart attack. Fisher, a famous actress best known for her role as Princess Leia in the Star Wars franchise, maintained a number of quite active social media accounts, primarily a twitter account with 1.25 million followers and a Facebook account with 523,845 Likes. Since her passing, no activity has been registered on these Continue Reading →

The FCC’s Latest Privacy Regulations: A New Stance on Private-Sector Protections?

Editor’s Note: This post was written by guest contributor Ido Sivan Sevilla, a Ph.D Candidate in Public Policy & Information Security at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Mr. Sevilla earned his Master’s degree in Public Policy Analysis as a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities, and served as a Legislative Fellow for Congressman Ami Bera of California’s 7th Congressional District. Mr. Sevilla’s research focuses on cyber security in national defense and the public sector. Continue Reading →

Posting without Hosting: Implications of Russia’s Recent Removal of LinkedIn

If you had hoped to check out your career prospects on LinkedIn from Russia this past week, you might have been puzzled by the site’s failure to load. LinkedIn has been blocked following the Court of Appeal’s (for Moscow’s Taginsky District) recent decision that LinkedIn violates a Russian data protection law, Federal Law No. 242-FZ (“No. 242”), on two counts: not storing data about Russians on servers located in Russian territory; and processing information about Continue Reading →