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Privacy Getting a Reboot

John Berard

Anyone old enough to remember when cross-border data flows were limited to what could be put in a DHL box in New York and sent directly to Milan for the next day? Or when MIPS were so costly and centralized that batch processing was the norm? The world has changed, but the rules governing data protection and privacy haven't (much).

Today technology allows and users demand that data flow without the drag of political boundaries or national borders, yet we still want assurances that our information will be protected and respected. This creates real tension as the 190+ countries each feel the sovereign responsibility to do it their way. The advance of new technologies, like Cloud Computing, which further disconnect data from dry land will heighten the effect.

In recent weeks, I have been working with a new research institute, The Privacy Projects, which announced its intention to help refocus data protection from the weeds of process and move toward accountability.

Paul Schwartz at Berkeley was the author of the first report. You can find it here [PDF].

Give it a read. It doesn't call for a solution akin to a "United Federation of Planets," merely that legislators, corporate executives and consumers partner to "consider how to shift its safeguards and requirements to focus on organizational privacy outputs rather than managerial inputs."

By John Berard, Founder, Credible Context & CEO, Vox Populi Registry
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