"Last week, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan was one of the first citizens to receive a National eID card, a biometric identification card that will be rolled out to 13 million Nigerians
in the near future. Although a handful of countries already use biometric identification systems, Nigeria’s will be unique as its pilot program will be branded with MasterCard logos. The program will
eventually be expanded to encompass the rest of the country’s adult population, and the BBC says that all Nigerians will be required to have such a card by 2019 if they wish to vote in the country’s
"On 13 May 2014, the Court of Justice of the European Union acknowledged that under existing European data protection legislation, EU citizens have the right to request internet search engines
such as Google, to remove search results directly related to them. This landmark ruling has sparked a lively and timely debate on the rights and wrongs of the so-called right to be forgotten. It is
important to make sure the discussion is based on facts. A sober reading of the judgment shows that the concerns that have emerged in this debate are exaggerated or simply unfounded."
"Edward Snowden’s leaks laid bare the scope and breadth of the electronic surveillance that the U.S. National Security Agency and its foreign counterparts conduct. Suddenly, foreign
surveillance is understood as personal and pervasive, capturing the communications not only of foreign leaders but also of private citizens. Yet to the chagrin of many state leaders, academics, and
foreign citizens, international law has had little to say about foreign surveillance. Until recently, no court, treaty body, or government had suggested that international law, including basic privacy
protections in human rights treaties, applied to purely foreign intelligence collection. This is now changing: several U.N. bodies, judicial tribunals, U.S. corporations, and victims of foreign
surveillance are pressuring states to bring that surveillance under tighter legal control. This article tackles three key, interrelated puzzles associated with this sudden transformation. First, it
explores why international law has had so little to say about how, when, and where governments may spy on other states’ nationals. Second, it draws on international relations theory to argue that the
development of new international norms regarding surveillance is both likely and essential. Third, it identifies six process-driven norms that states can and should adopt to ensure meaningful privacy
restrictions on international surveillance without unduly harming their legitimate national security interests. These norms, which include limits on the use of collected data, periodic reviews of
surveillance authorizations, and active oversight by neutral bodies, will increase the transparency, accountability, and legitimacy of foreign surveillance."
"New information technologies have dramatically increased sellers’ ability to engage in price discrimination in retail consumer markets. Debates over using personal information for price discrimination frequently treat it as a single concern, and are not sufficiently sensitive to the variety of price discrimination practices, the different kinds of information they require in order to succeed, and the different concerns they raise. This paper explores the ethical aspects of the debate over regulating price discrimination facilitated by personal information. By drawing distinctions between various pricing practices and the motivations behind them, this paper seeks to clarify the ethical principles that should guide legal and regulatory efforts to control the use of personal information for pricing."
"This paper highlights some of the opportunities presented by the rise of the so-called ‘Internet of Things’ and wearable technology in particular, and encourages policymakers to allow these technologies to develop in a relatively unabated fashion. As with other new and highly disruptive digital technologies, however, the Internet of Things and wearable tech will challenge existing social, economic, and legal norms. In particular, these technologies raise a variety of privacy and safety concerns. […] The better alternative to top-down regulation is to deal with these concerns creatively as they develop using a combination of educational efforts, technological empowerment tools, social norms, public and watchdog pressure, industry best practices and self-regulation, transparency, and targeted enforcement of existing legal standards (especially torts) as needed."
"This guide explains how the Data Protection Act (DPA) applies to journalism, advises on good practice, and clarifies the role of the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). It does not have
any formal legal status and cannot set any new rules, but it will help those working in the media understand and comply with existing law in this area."
"Their argument: Since the tech industry is populated by meritocratic rationalists, it would be impossible for a talented female engineer not to rise to the top. Therefore, if few women are in
the industry, the problem is not sexism but the absence of some innate capacity or interest on the part of (most) women. In other words, the dearth of women in tech is only natural. […] The proportion
of programmers in India who are women is at least 30 percent. In the US it’s 21 percent. And this despite the fact that by most indexes - economic opportunity, educational attainment, health - women in
India have access to a narrower set of opportunities than women in the United States. So unless nature is working contrarily in South Asia, something about the culture of the Indian educational system and
tech industry is more hospitable to women than the American one. If we can figure out what that difference is, we can begin to change things for the better in the US."
"As legal systems differ throughout the world there are significant differences in how Free and Open Source Software licenses are treated in different countries, and it can be difficult to
obtain reliable information on national interpretations. The International Free and Open Source Software Law Book engages with this by providing a clear yet thorough analysis of Free and Open Source legal
matters written and maintained by local experts, and by inviting everyone to assist in improving or expanding the content."
"The thought process behind non-anonymity is simple, in that anyone who has their identity attached to their comments will be more careful about what they say in a digital forum because it can
be traced back to their family and career. But to believe that a system of name verification would deter uncivil discourse, we’d have to believe that all off-color comments are the results of malicious
intent, that is, comments specifically for the purpose of aggravation, to cause harm or instill fear. Purposefully hurtful comments would be embarrassing or harmful to attach to your name, the opinions
you want to hide from your family and job. But, the truth is that many vitriolic comments come from readers who are proud to associate these views with their identity."
"The fiasco I want to talk about is the World Wide Web, specifically, the advertising-supported, ‘free as in beer’ constellation of social networks, services, and content that represents so
much of the present day web industry. I’ve been thinking of this world, one I’ve worked in for over 20 years, as a fiasco since reading a lecture by Maciej Cegłowski, delivered at the Beyond Tellerrand
web design conference. Cegłowski is an important and influential programmer and an enviably talented writer. His talk is a patient explanation of how we’ve ended up with surveillance as the default, if
not sole, internet business model. The talk is hilarious and insightful, and poignant precisely for the reasons Carlson’s story is. The internet spies at us at every twist and turn not because Zuckerberg,
Brin, and Page are scheming, sinister masterminds, but due to good intentions gone awry."
"There is a clear trend in the discourse surrounding surveillance: new technologies are analogised to a less powerful, pervasive and intrusive technology by only considering a single common function. This narrow logic strips the technology of important capabilities and novel contexts in which it can be used. It is not that analogies are inherently problematic, but rather significant problems arise when they are used by courts to only focus on a single dimension of the technology. Such analogies generate a cursory understanding and subsequently, courts ignore areas of warranted concern. As a recent encouraging US Supreme Court opinion puts it in perhaps the most appropriate use of an analogy, likening a search of a cell phone to a container ‘is like saying a ride on horseback is materially indistinguishable from a flight to the moon. Both are ways of getting from point A to point B, but little else justifies lumping them together."
"Do Not Track, or more specifically the Tracking Preference Expression and Tracking Compliance and Scope specifications, is an internet privacy standard that allows users to signal their preferences for being tracked or not online. The standard is a mess, an epic farrago unfolding in slow motion. It’s unfinished and the subject of fundamental disagreement, but also, strangely, in active use. It’s never actually failed but it can never succeed. Like a giant glacier it’s slowly melting away beneath us. Eventually we’ll notice we’re stood on bare rock and it’s gone completely but until then we’ll wake up each day with nothing more interesting to wonder at than an occasional dampness in our shoes."
"The fact that computers, external file storage and cloud servers are employed does not require one to alter the high threshold that must be met to justify government intrusion. Each new
technology that affords a different type of private place to preserve private communications does not require a different standard for the search and seizure of its contents than is constitutionally
required for the search of a file cabinet or the search of a home. What is different is the amount of private information that can be improperly searched and the substantially greater intrusion upon
privacy and Fourth Amendment interests that may result. One must look to the Fourth Amendment to define the limits of such searches and then ask whether the existing policies, procedures and guidelines
applied to the technologies of the day appropriately mirror our fundamental constitutional values. Currently, they do not. The starting point cannot be that everything is fair game."
"The National Programme for IT in the [National Health Service] (NPfIT) was the largest public sector IT programme ever attempted in the UK, originally budgeted to cost approximately £6
billion over the lifetime of the major contracts. After a history marked by delays, stakeholder opposition and implementation issues, the programme was dismantled by the Conservative-Liberal Democrat
Government in 2011, almost ten years after Prime Minister Tony Blair initiated it at a seminar in Downing Street in 2002."
"As we look at the dynamic change shaping today’s data-driven world, one thing is becoming increasingly clear. We really do not know that much about it. Polarized along competing but
fundamental principles, the global dialogue on personal data is inchoate and pulled in a variety of directions. It is complicated, conflated and often fueled by emotional reactions more than informed
understandings. The World Economic Forum’s global dialogue on personal data seeks to cut through this complexity. A multi-year initiative with global insights from the highest levels of leadership from
industry, governments, civil society and academia, this work aims to articulate an ascendant vision of the value a balanced and human-centred personal data ecosystem can create."