Tag Archive | Internet

New Report on Privacy and Crowdsourced Missing Persons Registries

From:              Fordham Law School and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

Contact:         Peter Pochna, Rubenstein Associates, 212-843-8007, ppochna@rubenstein.com

FORDHAM LAW AND THE WOODROW WILSON CENTER RELEASE REPORT ON PRIVACY ISSUES RAISED BY MISSING PERSONS DATABASES

NEW YORK, NY AND WASHINGTON, DC (April XX, 2013) – The Fordham Center on Law and Information Policy (CLIP) at Fordham Law School and the Commons Lab of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars today issued a report titled “Privacy and Missing Persons after Natural Disasters,” prepared as part of a joint project. The report is available for free download at:

http://www.scribd.com/collections/3840667/Commons-Lab-Science-and-Technology-Innovation-Program-STIP and http://ssrn.com/abstract=2229610

The report offers a roadmap to the legal and policy issues surrounding privacy and missing persons following natural disasters. It provides strategies that humanitarian organizations, private sector organizations, volunteers and policy makers can pursue to help those affected by major natural disasters. For example, the report recommends that the United States government exercise existing legal authority to support appropriate sharing of personal information about missing persons following natural disasters. More broadly, the report recommends that those developing technologies to share information about missing persons implement design principles that carefully balance privacy consistent with existing legal obligations. The report also calls on privacy policy makers, legislators, and regulators to take steps to clarify how privacy rules apply to missing persons activities in identified key areas so that missing persons activities can proceed without the threat of legal liability.

“With this project, Fordham CLIP is trying to help the people and organizations assisting in the location of missing persons recognize and deal with critical privacy issues by providing a range of options to address the legal and policy concerns,” said Joel R. Reidenberg, the academic director of Fordham CLIP and a co-author of the report.  Robert Gellman, a privacy expert and co-author of the report, added, “Missing persons services are essential following natural disasters, but they can raise questions about how privacy laws apply to emergency humanitarian responses. The report suggests ways to resolve those questions.”

The project is part of an international effort led by the Missing Persons Community of Interest (MPCI) that is seeking to harmonize a wide array of databases and technologies to enhance searches for missing persons following natural disasters. MPCI, which emerged in response to the 2010 Haitian earthquake, includes participants from local disaster management, international humanitarian relief organizations, private sector technology companies, non-profits, and digital volunteer communities.

Tim Schwartz, the chair of MPCI, said the report “gives us for the first time a thorough analysis of how missing persons technologies impact individual privacy and provides us with a valuable framework that will help us refine these critical and complex systems.” Lea Shanley, director of the Commons Lab at the Wilson Center, added, “Response organizations and volunteer groups must work to find an appropriate balance between protecting privacy and safety, and facilitating critical information sharing about affected populations and missing persons during and after disasters. This research will inform the development of privacy guidelines and best practices.”

The report examined privacy issues created by missing persons activities following several recent natural disasters, such as the earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand in February 2011 and Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in August 2005.  The report identified New Zealand as a leader in addressing the privacy issues that follow natural disasters and in prompting the world’s data protection authorities to pay more attention to those issues. The report discusses the New Zealand response and shows what other data protection authorities can do to provide clarity in applying privacy rules to missing persons activities.

Joining Reidenberg on the team that created the report are Gellman, a privacy and information policy consultant who previously served as chief counsel to the U.S. House of Representative Government Operations Committee and served as a member of the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics at the U.S. Health and Human Services Department, Jamela Debelak, CLIP’s executive director, and CLIP student researchers Adam Elewa and Nancy Liu.

The project was supported by the Wilson Center and a gift made by Fordham University alumnus and trustee Ed Stroz and his digital risk management company, Stroz Friedberg.

The Commons Lab of the Wilson Center’s Science and Technology Innovation Program seeks to advance research and independent policy analysis on emerging technologies that facilitate collaborative, science-based and citizen-driven decision-making, with an emphasis on their social, legal, and ethical implications. The initiative does not advocate for or against specific technological platforms, rather works to ensure that these technologies are developed and used in a way that maximizes benefits while reducing risks and unintended consequences. Our work often focuses on novel governance options at the “edges” where the crowd and social media operate—between formal organizations and emergent networks, and between proprietary and open models of data ownership and access.

The Fordham Center on Law and Information Policy (CLIP) was founded to make significant contributions to the development of law and policy for the information economy and to teach the next generation of leaders. CLIP brings together scholars, the bar, the business community, technology experts, the policy community, students, and the public to address and assess policies and solutions for cutting-edge issues that affect the evolution of the information economy.

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Massachusetts Supreme Court Rules ZIP Codes Are Definitely “Personal Identification Information”

by Erin Aures, Privacy Law Blog, April 1, 2013

In a recent ruling arising from certain certified questions in Tyler v. Michaels Stores, Inc., Civ. No. 11-10920-WGY D. Mass. Jan. 6, 2012, the Massachusetts Supreme Court interpreted “personal identification information” under Mass. Gen. Laws, ch. 93, § 105a Section 105a to include a consumer’s ZIP code and determined that collecting such personal information is a violation of state privacy law for which the consumer can sue see slip opinion. By way of background, the plaintiff, Tyler, alleged she was making a credit card purchase at Michaels an arts and crafts retailer when a cashier asked her for her ZIP code. Tyler provided her ZIP code. Tyler alleged her ZIP code was later used by Michaels to find Tyler’s mailing address and telephone numbers and send her unwanted and unsolicited marketing materials. …

For full text of the analysis, visit Massachusetts Supreme Court Rules ZIP Codes Are Definitely “Personal Identification Information” | Privacy Law Blog.

 

Google Admits Street View Project Violated Privacy

By David Streitfeld, NYT Technology, March 12, 2013

Google on Tuesday acknowledged to state officials that it had violated people’s privacy during its Street View mapping project when it casually scooped up passwords, e-mail and other personal information from unsuspecting computer users. In agreeing to settle a case brought by 38 states involving the project, the search company for the first time is required to aggressively police its own employees on privacy issues and to explicitly tell the public how to fend off privacy violations like this one.

For full text of the article, visit Google Admits Street View Project Violated Privacy – NYTimes.com.

 

The GitHub Generation: Why We’re All in Open Source Now

by Mikeal Rogers, Wired Magazine, March 7, 2013

GitHub was intended to be an open software collaboration platform, but it’s become a platform for much, much more than code. It’s now being used by artists, builders, home owners, everyone in between, entire companies … and cities. GitHub is doing to open source what the internet did to the publishing industry.“ Anyone can now change the data when new bike paths are built, when roads are under construction, and new buildings are erected,” the city of Chicago recently announced. … Perhaps not so surprisingly, he has about 17 open “pull” requests for changes. And of course, GitHub is still used by programmers and developers flying AR Drones with Node.js or building websites with jQuery.

For full text of this article, visit The GitHub Generation: Why We’re All in Open Source Now | Wired Opinion | Wired.com.

 

Senate Judiciary Committee votes on Location Privacy Act

The Senate Judiciary Committee held an executive business meeting to consider pending nominations and legislation on December 13, 2012, including the Location Privacy Protection Act. The bill, however, was not enacted in the last Congress.

Watch the video here (meeting starts at 21 min into video).

Agenda

I. Bills

S.1223, Location Privacy Protection Act of 2011 (Franken, Blumenthal, Coons, Durbin, Feinstein). Ordered Reported By Voice Vote, Three Senators Recorded As No

  • Substitute Amendment HEN12877 (Franken) Adopted By Unanimous Consent

For more information and links to the amendments listed above, please visit Senate Judiciary Committee.

NYT: State Department to Announce Internet Freedom Policy

U.S. Policy to Address Internet Freedom

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has noted the Internet’s use in toppling repressive regimes and crushing dissent.

By MARK LANDLER, NYT, Published: February 14, 2011

WASHINGTON — Days after Facebook and Twitter added fuel to a revolt in Egypt, the Obama administration plans to announce a new policy on Internet freedom, designed to help people get around barriers in cyberspace while making it harder for autocratic governments to use the same technology to repress dissent. … Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who will lay out the policy in a speech on Tuesday, acknowledged the Internet’s dual role in an address a year ago, and administration officials said she would touch on that theme again, noting how social networks were used by both protesters and governments in the uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt and other Arab countries. …

Full article via State Department to Announce Internet Freedom Policy – NYTimes.com.

Satellite to improve Internet access in underserved parts of the world

Buy this satellite?

by Jeff Foust, The Space Review, Monday, February 7, 2011

The last several weeks have demonstrated the power—and the fragility—of the Internet as a tool of social protest and revolution. In Tunisia and, more recently, in Egypt, demonstrators turned to the Internet, particularly social networks like Facebook and Twitter, to coordinate protests and disseminate information in ways not imagined more than a few years ago. Those tools are a way to get around the restrictions of state-run media, but are themselves vulnerable to disruption by the state, as the Egyptian government demonstrated when it effectively cut off Internet access in the country in late January in an effort to hinder the protestors’ ability to organize.

The Egyptian government was able to take that step, if only temporarily, because of the limited terrestrial means of accessing the Internet. But what if there was a way to get around those blockades, an alternate means of access that didn’t rely on terrestrial infrastructure and its potential for disruption? The answer could come from the skies. …

For full text of the article via The Space Review: Buy this satellite?.

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