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

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

What Consumers Should Know About Equifax $700M Settlement

"You cannot determine with certainty that the information will never wind up in the hands of people who are going to use it." — Ryan Calo, Professor of Law, University of Washington


M. Ryan Calo
Source: NBC News
July 22, 2019

FTC Reportedly Approves $5 Billion Settlement with Facebook

"This has emerged as a powerful test of the FTC's credibility as a privacy data protection authority. If it seems to conclude this in a way that is weak, it will suffer tremendously."  — William Kovacic, Professor of Law, George Washington University


William E. Kovacic
Source: CNN
July 12, 2019

F.E.C. Allows Security Company to Help 2020 Candidates Defend Campaigns

"The bad guys have had more time to spend on this, and more time to develop new tricks." — Ed Felten, Professor of Computer Science, Princeton University


Edward Felten
Source: The New York Times
July 11, 2019

Facebook’s Face-ID Database Could Be the Biggest in the World. Yes, It Should Worry Us.

"The payoff for Facebook is to have a bigger and broader sense of everybody’s preferences, both individually and collectively. That helps it not only target ads but target and develop services, too." — Siva Vaidhyanathan, Professor of Media Studies, University of Virginia


Siva Vaidhyanathan
Source: Slate
July 9, 2019
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TAP Blog

Is the California Legislature Addicted to Performative Election-Year Stunts That Threaten the Internet? (Comments on AB2408)

Santa Clara internet law scholar Eric Goldman writes about California AB2408, proposed legislation intended to address social media platforms that are addictive to children.

Eric Goldman

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

Restrictions on Privacy and Exploitation in the Digital Economy: A Market Failure Perspective

Digital platforms collect consumer data by default. Changing the default setting to require to consumers to “opt-in” to allow use of their data could create a market in data, but large platforms would still enjoy too much market power.

By: Nicholas Economides, Ioannis Lianos