Tag Archive | Legal

Legal Implications of Social Networking: Privacy – Info Law Group

by David Navetta, Information Law Group, October 17, 2011

As social media and networking continue to revolutionize modern-day marketing and become the norm for organizations of all types, shapes and sizes, it is even more important to adequately address the legal risks associated with social media use. In Part One of our Legal Implications series, we laid out some background and identified key areas of legal risk.   In the next few posts InfoLawGroup is going to look deeper at some of these risks. In this post we explore some of the privacy legal issues that companies should address if they want to leverage social media.

View the entire entry:

The Legal Implications of Social Networking Part I

By David Navetta, Information Law Group, June 11, 2011

Much like the “Cloud computing revolution” there is an almost frenzied excitement around social media, and many companies are stampeding to exploit social networking.  The promise of increased intimate customer interactions, input and loyalty, and enhanced sales and expanded market share can result in some organizations overlooking the thorny issues arising out of social networking.  Many of these issues are legal in nature and could increase the legal risk and liability potential of an organization employing a social media strategy.

In this multi-part series the InfoLawGroup will identify and explore the legal implications of social media. This series will help organizations begin to identify some of the legal risks associated with social media so that they may start addressing and mitigating these risks while maximizing their social media strategy.

In Part One of the series, we will provide a high level overview of the legal risks and issues associated with an organization’s use of social media. In subsequent parts members of the InfoLawGroup team will take a deeper dive into these matters, and provide some practical insight and strategic direction for addressing these issues.   As always, we view our series as the beginning of a broader conversation between ourselves and the larger community, and we welcome and strongly encourage comments, concerns, corrections and criticisms.

View the entire entry:

From Public Access to Open Government: Access to GIS Data


From Public Records to Open Government: Access to Massachusetts Municipal Geographic Data

Robert Goodspeed, PhD Student, MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Submitted for publication to URISA Journal, January 2011


Increasingly citizens are demanding access of raw data from governments to look up facts, hold them accountable, conduct analysis, or create innovative applications and services. Cities and towns create information for geographic information systems such as parcels, zoning, and infrastructure that are useful for a wide range of purposes. Through a public records request to all 351 Massachusetts municipalities, this paper investigates whether this data is accessible to citizens in practice. In an apparent violation of the law, two municipalities refused access to electronic records. Many others charged fees ranging up to $453 or placed burdensome legal restrictions on the data that could chill or prohibit creative reuses of the data through emerging technologies. Other practical barriers, such as limited technical knowledge or resources and outsourcing to private vendors, restricted public access to data. Most troubling, 23.2% of municipalities did not respond with 29 days, nearly three times the legally mandated 10-day response time. Finally, the paper discusses legal, policy, and technical steps that can be taken by governments to move from a “public records” to an “open government” paradigm for transparency of government data. The policy recommendations for municipalities include publishing GIS data for free online, and with minimal legal restrictions.

For full text of the article, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, click here.


Privacy Invasive Geo-Mashups and the Limits of Privacy Law

Privacy Invasive Geo-Mashups: Privacy 2.0 and the Limits of First Generation Information Privacy Laws

Source: Mark Burdon, Queensland University of Technology, Journal of Law, Technology and Policy, No. 1, 2010

Abstract: Online technological advances are pioneering the wider distribution of geospatial information for general mapping purposes. The use of popular web-based applications, such as Google Maps, is ensuring that mapping based applications are becoming commonplace amongst Internet users which has facilitated the rapid growth of geo-mashups. These user generated creations enable Internet users to aggregate and publish information over specific geographical points. This article identifies privacy invasive geo-mashups that involve the unauthorized use of personal information, the inadvertent disclosure of personal information and invasion of privacy issues. Building on Zittrain’s Privacy 2.0, the author contends that first generation information privacy laws, founded on the notions of fair information practices or information privacy principles, may have a limited impact regarding the resolution of privacy problems arising from privacy invasive geo-mashups. Principally because geo-mashups have different patterns of personal information provision, collection, storage and use that reflect fundamental changes in the Web 2.0 environment. The author concludes by recommending embedded legal, organizational technical and social solutions to minimize the risks arising from privacy invasive geo-mashups that could lead to the establishment of guidelines to assist courts and regulators with the protection of privacy in geo-mashups.

For full text of the article, click here.

Spatial Data Infrastructure – More than Directives

Spatial Data Infrastuctures – More than Directives
By Kevin Pomfret, Steven Ramage, Directions Magazine, November 14, 2010 

Summary: Due in large part to the success of the OGC and its members in developing standards and promoting interoperability, it is now much easier from a technology standpoint to share spatial data across and between government entities. But what about the legal aspects of this sharing? Attorney Kevin Pomfret and OGC staffer Steven Ramage examine some of these questions as they relate to successfully implementing national or regional spatial data infrastructures.

For full text of the article, click here.

Spatial Data Infrastructure – A symbol of confidence and trust

Summary: John Moeller, a senior principal engineer with Northrop Grumman, provides his thoughts about the “future prospects for spatial data and associated technologies, the importance of easily accessible and usable spatial data, the value and economic ramifications of spatial data, legal and policy issues, and management and governance questions.” What do a community youth mapping project in Alexandria, Va., a Cape Cod Commission effort to map water wells, and a law enforcement agency’s use of satellite imagery to certify swimming pools have in common? Each is the subject of a recent newspaper article and while not unique on its own, when put together they illustrate key points about the current and future prospects for spatial data and associated technologies, the importance of easily accessible and usable spatial data, the value and economic ramifications of spatial data, legal and policy issues, and management and governance questions.

For full text of the article, click here.

Source: John Moeller, Directions Magazine, Tuesday, October 5th 2010

Articles in the series:

  1. Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) – A Symbol of Confidence and Trust (October 5th, 2010)
  2. Spatial Data Infrastructures – Challenges and Opportunities (July 28th, 2010)
  3. Spatial Data Infrastructures (SDI) – Challenges and Opportunities (June 30th, 2010)
  4. Spatial Data Infrastructures (SDIs) – Why Should We Care About Them? (February 22nd, 2010)

Data Access and Privacy Issues Related to Smart Grid Technologies



Department of Energy, October 5, 2010

This section summarizes and records DOE‘s impressions of the results of its efforts to collect and analyze diverse perspectives on the current state of data security and consumer access and privacy issues associated with the ongoing development and deployment of ―Smart Grid technologies. In so doing, it provides federal, state and local policymakers, as well as utilities and third-party providers of energy management services, with a concise, broad overview of the current state of ongoing efforts to assess the legal and regulatory implications of the data-security and data-privacy issues that were identified during a public information-gathering process conducted by DOE in the spring and summer of 2010. In this document, DOE attempts to provide a measure of certainty for all Smart Grid participants on issues where there is consensus, as well as highlight the pros and cons of various approaches where debate still exists.
DOE stresses the intended audience and the legal and regulatory focus of this report because efforts to encourage the deployment of Smart Grid technologies will depend significantly upon two factors.  First, the success of such efforts depends upon the development of legal and regulatory regimes that respect consumer privacy, promote consumer access to and choice regarding third-party use of their energy data, and secure potentially sensitive data to increase consumer acceptance of Smart Grid.  Second, the success of such efforts also depends upon the development of appropriate technical standards and protocols for promoting privacy, choice, and the secure, interoperable transfer and maintenance of sensitive data. 
 This report focuses on the first of these challenges. Federal efforts to investigate the second set of technical issues and promote the development of standards for addressing them are also underway. Those seeking analyses of the technical issues should consult publications like the  Guidelines for Smart Grid Cyber Security: Vol. 2, Privacy and the Smart Grid, released by the National Institute of Standards and Technology in August 2010.
For full text of the report, click here.
For a related posting on the  Geodata Policy blog, click here.


%d bloggers like this: