Issues

Privacy and Security

Information technology lets people learn about one another on a scale previously unimaginable. Information in the wrong hands can be harmful. Scholars on this site consider problems of privacy, fraud, identity, and security posed by the digital age.

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Quotes

Contact Tracing – The Privacy Vs Urgency Dilemma for Governments in the Fight Against COVID-19

“Either you have a system unlikely to help people navigate their world, to leave their house and feel safe, or you have privacy trade-offs.”
 — Ryan Calo, Professor of Law, University of Washington
M. Ryan Calo
Source: South China Morning Post
June 4, 2020

Phishing Is Surging. Here's How To Spot Online Scams

“Scammers are acting under the guise of the government, hoping unsuspecting people will give out their bank account information.”
— Lorrie Cranor, Professor of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University
Lorrie Faith Cranor
Source: NPR’s Here and Now
May 22, 2020

Coronavirus Tracing Apps Are Coming. Here’s How They Could Reshape Surveillance as We Know It

“We are repeatedly told that contact tracing apps and COVID-19-related surveillance are temporary measures for use until the pandemic passes. That’s likely to be a fantasy.”
— Woodrow Hartzog, Professor of Law and Computer Science at Northeastern University
Woodrow Hartzog
Source: Los Angeles Times
May 12, 2020

The Privacy Issues of Letting Big Tech Tackle the Pandemic

"Those who champion the use of smartphone tracking often ignore that the countries that successfully curbed their pandemics used smartphone apps alongside rigorous testing and aggressive physical-distancing measures." — Ryan Calo, Co-director, University of Washington Tech Policy Lab
M. Ryan Calo
Source: The Globe and Mail
April 23, 2020

Be Very Wary of Trump’s Health Surveillance Plans

"This is not the time for technology optimism or pessimism. It’s the time for technology realism, with the full understanding that technology’s promise is as only good as those who control it — and that once the pendulum moves in one direction during a crisis, it is difficult to swing it back." — Danielle Citron, Privacy Law Professor, Boston University


Danielle Citron
Source: The Washington Post
April 16, 2020

Confronting Viral Disinformation

“My worry is that those very important public health officials who have our attention—and should have our attention—will be beset by cyber mobs trying to chase them offline, to discredit them and to silence them.” — Danielle Citron, Privacy Law Professor, Boston University


Danielle Citron
Source: Slate
March 27, 2020

Activate This ‘Bracelet of Silence,’ and Alexa Can’t Eavesdrop

"It creates an arms race, and consumers will lose in that race,” he said. “Any of these things is a half-measure or a stopgap. There will always be a way around it." — Woodrow Hartzog, Professor of Law and Computer Science, Northeastern University


Woodrow Hartzog
Source: The New York Times
February 14, 2020

The Secretive Company That Might End Privacy as We Know It

"Imagine a rogue law enforcement officer who wants to stalk potential romantic partners, or a foreign government using this to dig up secrets about people to blackmail them or throw them in jail." — Eric Goldman, Professor of Law, Santa Clara University


Eric Goldman
Source: The New York Times
January 18, 2020

MacArthur Genius Danielle Citron on Deepfakes and the Representative Katie Hill Scandal

"I don’t think there’s a one-size-fits-all rule for hate speech in the U.S. The definition of what we mean by hate speech and why we care about hate speech, I think, should differ depending on the context." — Danielle Citron, Privacy Law Professor, Boston University


Danielle Citron
Source:

The New York Magazine


October 31, 2019

Government Case Details Sneaky Facebook Behavior

This article reports on Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) efforts to regulate Facebook’s privacy weaknesses. William Kovacic, George Washington University law professor and former FTC Chairman, is quoted.
William E. Kovacic
Source: AP News
July 24, 2019
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TAP Blog

Professor Lorrie Cranor Provides Tips on How to Protect Against Phishing Attacks

There has been a surge in phishing attacks and online scams taking advantage of COVID-19-related uncertainties and vulnerabilities. Carnegie Mellon University Professor Lorrie Cranor shares insights from her anti-phishing research.

TAP Staff Blogger

Fact Sheets

Privacy and Consumers

There are a number of privacy issues related to how online companies collect, store, use and share personally identifiable information; and how consumers are informed about what is done with their information online.

Featured Article

Fixing Social Media's Grand Bargain

Social media firms like Facebook offer services for free in exchange for data from end users, using the data to sell advertising. This bargain encourages social media firms and advertisers to manipulate users.

By: Jack M. Balkin