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Reflections on Joe Cannataci's First Report

Joseph Cannataci recently submitted his first report as UN Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy - a brand new position, created in July 2015 in the wake of the German-Brazilian initiative for a UN resolution on privacy in the digital age. The report includes a description of Cannataci's working methods, a general overview of privacy-relevant topics, and a 'Ten point action plan' - described as a to-do list for the post holder, rather than a mere wish list. more»

What Your ISP (Probably) Knows About You

Earlier this week, I came across a working paper from Professor Peter Swire - a highly respected attorney, professor, and policy expert. Swire's paper, entitled "Online Privacy and ISPs", argues that ISPs have limited capability to monitor users' online activity. The paper argues that ISPs have limited visibility into users' online activity for three reasons: (1) users are increasingly using many devices and connections, so any single ISP is the conduit of only a fraction of a typical user's activity; (2) end-to-end encryption is becoming more pervasive, which limits ISPs' ability to glean information about user activity; and (3) users are increasingly shifting to VPNs to send traffic. more»

Three Reasons Why Apple Didn't Have to Unlock a Phone

The US government is demanding Apple unlock iPhones in about a dozen cases beside the San Bernardino one. In a strikingly similar case, Judge James Orenstein in Brooklyn rejected the government's request for three separate reasons. In the decision the judge refers several times to the San Bernardino case, and it is clear he expects this decision to be an important precedent for that one. more»

Apple vs FBI: Apple and Others to Argue on the Hill

Tomorrow afternoon at 1pm EST Apple will be giving testimony to the House Judiciary Committee. The session that Apple and others will be taking part in is aptly named, The Encryption Tightrope: Balancing Americans' Security and Privacy In common with other hearings the various witnesses called to speak have already submitted their written testimony, so we can already look at it and analyse it. more»

FBI vs Apple: A Bit Of Light Reading

Encryption is key to commerce online. Anything that weakens it is a threat to the digital economy, so the FBI vs Apple case is something that a lot of people are watching very closely... The most recent development is that Apple has filed "Motion to Vacate the Order Compelling Apple Inc. to Assist Agents in Search, and Opposition to the Government's Motion to Compel Assistance." Legal filings aren't light bedtime reading, but this one explores the legal issues as well as the privacy and security implications from multiple angles and underlines why this case is so important. more»

Spin Doctoring from FBI in the Apple Case

It is rather amazing to follow the reporting on the FBI vs Apple case in relation to the FBI's order to Apple to provide them with software that would allow them to crack the security code on all Apple phones. In some of those reports spin doctoring from the FBI -- especially through the public media -- led you to believe that Apple is not willing to assist the FBI in the San Bernardino murder case. This is, however, blatantly false. more»

ICANN Update on Whois, New gTLD Program PDPs, ICANN CEO and Privacy Accreditation

As promised, 2016 is off to a busy start at ICANN, with important discussions about Whois/Registration Directory Services, subsequent rounds of the New gTLD Program and internet governance already underway, and more to come. Brand owner concerns will be front and center in the coming months, as community stakeholders set priorities and begin discussions of key challenges and desired results. more»

Security, Backdoors and Control

Encryption is a way to keep private information private in the digital world. But there are government actors, particularly here in the US, that want access to our private data. The NSA has been snooping our data for years. Backdoors have been snuck into router encryption code to make it easier to break. Today at M3AAWG we had a keynote from Kim Zetter, talking about Stuxnet and how it spread well outside the control of the people who created it. more»

India's Net Neutrality Win: Lessons for Developing Countries

On 8th February, 2015, Internet users celebrated news that the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India had passed regulation prohibiting ISPs from discriminating access to data services based on content". This directive follows similar developments in the U.S, E.U, Chile et al, and is a huge milestone in the fight for Net Neutrality: the principle that ISPs should treat all Internet traffic the same way. Meanwhile, Net Neutrality issues are not unique to India. more»

Federal Data Crisis: Unreliable Federal Databases are Destroying Opportunities for Small Businesses

Databases are the infrastructure of the modern administrative state and data is its lifeblood. When the data is contaminated with errors, federal agencies have difficulty performing even the most basic administrative functions such as managing its inventory of office space and protecting the personally identifiable information (PII) of social security number holders. The federal dissemination of unreliable data doesn't just waste money; it undermines public trust in government and leaves it unmanageable. more»