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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

What Mark Zuckerberg’s New Vision Could Really Mean for Privacy and Propaganda

"When you look at the ways that WhatsApp has been abused and hijacked in India and Brazil, it’s clear that it’s a powerful engine for spreading dangerous propaganda. It’s also clear that there’s not much Facebook can do about that, because all the messages are encrypted. Facebook can’t measure the problem or filter for the problem." — Siva Vaidhyanathan, Professor of Media Studies, University of Virginia


Siva Vaidhyanathan
Source: Fast Company
March 11, 2019

Facebook Is Laughing All the Way to the Bank as Americans Shrug Off Privacy Concerns

This article explores privacy issues inherent in social media platforms, specifically Facebook; and examines legislative and corporate efforts to balance securing users’ personal data with the business of big data. Law professors Fred Cate, Indiana University Maurer School of Law, Lior Strahilevitz, University of Chicago Law School, and Joel Reidenberg, Fordham University, are quoted.


Fred H. Cate
Source: Los Angeles Times
February 4, 2019

You've Been Breached: Hackers Stole Nearly Half a Billion Personal Records in 2018

"We've always been sloppy when it comes to data security and the hackers are finding creative new ways to exploit that. We are definitely seeing attacks that focus on the human element, both at the individual level — new forms of phishing attacks — but also at the enterprise level — humans making mistakes that allow for a large-scale breach." — Lorrie Faith Cranor, Privacy and Cybersecurity expert, Carnegie Mellon University


Lorrie Faith Cranor
Source: NBC News
February 4, 2019

Apple’s Cold War Over Privacy Turns Hot

"We’re entering this world where sellers can so deeply interfere with users and their devices that we may live to regret that." — Chris Hoofnagle, Professor of Law, University of California, Berkeley


Chris Hoofnagle
Source: The Wall Street Journal
February 2, 2019

San Francisco Could Be First to Ban Facial Recognition Tech

"This is the first piece of legislation that I’ve seen that really takes facial recognition technology as seriously as it is warranted and treats it as uniquely dangerous." — Woodrow Hartzog, Professor of Law, Northeastern University


Woodrow Hartzog
Source: Wired
January 31, 2019

Facebook Revenue Soars Despite Growing Privacy Concerns

The technique Facebook used to bypass Apple’s App Store, called a root certificate, is "a really invasive solution to the problem Facebook was trying to solve. It opens up a lot of potential security risks. And I don’t know the full range of all of them." — Eric Goldman, Professor of Law, Santa Clara University


Eric Goldman
Source: San Francisco Chronicle
January 30, 2019

California Could Soon Have Its Own Version of the Internet

"I think that California, like Brussels, certainly might set the bar for compliance on several important tech issues. But this might not lead to balkanization in the way we’re seeing in China and Russia." — Woodrow Hartzog, Professor of Law, Northeastern University


Woodrow Hartzog
Source: Wired
December 29, 2018

Sharing Data for Deals? More Like Watching It Go With a Sigh

"There are so many aspects of how companies deal with the public that obfuscates what actually goes on and so many attempts to placate people using jargon. I’ve spoken to lawyers who write privacy policies who admit — they admit — that they aren’t written for the public." — Joseph Turow, Professor of Communications, University of Pennsylvania


Joseph Turow
Source: The New York Times
December 24, 2018

It’s Time to Try Something Different on Internet Privacy

"It’s time to take a bold step forward. The United States has an opportunity to redefine itself as the country that protects the trust that people give to companies. By embracing trust, the United States can become a leader on privacy instead of following the path of false promises and diminishing returns." — Woodrow Hartzog, Professor of Law, Northeastern University and Neil Richards, Professor of Law, Washington University in St. Louis


Woodrow Hartzog
Source: The Washington Post
December 20, 2018

Violating Our Privacy Is in Facebook's DNA

"These two principles – that Facebook is benevolent and that privacy is quaint and inefficient – drive everything Facebook does. They go a long way to explain why Facebook continued to give precious user data to a set of “trusted” partners years after the company claimed it had ended such a program." — Siva Vaidhyanathan, Professor of Media Studies, University of Virginia


Siva Vaidhyanathan
Source: The Guardian
December 20, 2018
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Woodrow Hartzog Discusses How Contact-Tracing Apps Could Reshape Surveillance

In an op-ed article for the Los Angeles Times, Woodrow Hartzog, Professor of Law and Computer Science at Northeastern University, shares his insights into Google and Apple’s contact tracing project, and he discusses the “three concerns to keep in mind about relying on technology to mitigate the COVID-19 crisis.”

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Fact Sheets

Social Networking

Social networking websites are places on the Internet where people can connect with those who share their interests. Additionally, they can function as economic “platforms” that serve different groups of many users, including consumers, advertisers, game developers, and others. 

Featured Article

The Surveillance Implications of Efforts to Combat Cyber Harassment

Surveillance helps stop cyber harassment, the abuse of victims online. Police use technology to record evidence posted on social media or to identify anonymous perpetrators. However, surveillance can be intrusive.

By: Danielle Citron, Liz Clark Rinehart