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

Facial Recognition Has to Be Regulated to Protect the Public, Says AI Report

"It’s time to regulate facial recognition and affect recognition. Claiming to ‘see’ into people’s interior states is neither scientific nor ethical." — Kate Crawford, Distinguished Research Professor, New York University


Kate Crawford
Source: MIT’s Technology Review
December 6, 2018

You Thought Fake News Was Bad? Deep Fakes Are Where Truth Goes to Die

"I’m starting to see how a well-timed deep fake could very well disrupt the democratic process." — Danielle Citron, Professor of Law, University of Maryland


Danielle Citron
Source: The Guardian
November 12, 2018

Facebook’s Failure to End ‘Public by Default’

"Right now, users have little choice in the public exposure of their profile pictures. Every single one of them is set to “public” by default. Even if you try to limit your current profile picture visibility using Facebook’s privacy settings for the individual photo, it will still be public." — Woodrow Hartzog, Professor of Law, Northeastern University and Evan Selinger, Professor of Philosophy, Rochester Institute of Technology


Evan Selinger
Source: Medium
November 7, 2018

Online Hate Is Spreading, and Internet Platforms Can’t Stop It

"We need to be really vigilant about speech that gets really close to reducing people to non-humans and calling for their destruction. Even in vague ways, I think that is harmful and dangerous and troubling. It doesn’t mean it has to be removed. We just have to follow it." — Danielle Citron, Professor of Law, University of Maryland


Danielle Citron
Source: Boston Globe
November 1, 2018

The Cybersecurity 202: Kanye West Is Going to Make Password Security Great Again

"The phone is actually the closest to being a solved problem. They use biometrics pretty well. They’re not the most secure things, but they’re a lot more secure than using ‘000000.’" — Lorrie Faith Cranor, Professor of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University


Lorrie Faith Cranor
Source: The Washington Post
October 12, 2018

As facial-recognition technology grows, so does wariness about privacy. Use at a school in Seattle fuels debate.

"Those with unfettered access to your data, and especially those whose usage of your own data you cannot inquire about or limit, have power over you." — Alessandro Acquisti, Professor of Information Technology and Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University


Alessandro Acquisti
Source: The Seattle Times
September 28, 2018

The Always-On Police Camera

"Facial recognition is probably the most menacing, dangerous surveillance technology ever invented. We should all be extremely skeptical of having it deployed in any wearable technology, particularly in contexts [where] the surveilled are so vulnerable, such as in many contexts involving law enforcement." — Woodrow Hartzog, Professor of Law and Computer Science, Northeastern University


Woodrow Hartzog
Source: The Atlantic
September 26, 2018

The Cybersecurity 202: Lawmakers Want Intelligence Chiefs to Help Counter Threat from Doctored Videos

"Having the director of national intelligence reporting to Congress, having the threat bandied about very publicly, could get platforms to work more on these problems. This is the kind of feedback loop we need." — Danielle Citron, Professor of Law, University of Maryland


Danielle Citron
Source: The Washington Post
September 14, 2018

Let’s Retire the Phrase ‘Privacy Policy’

"‘Privacy policy’ – People assume it means their information will be kept private. Nothing could be further from the truth." — Joseph Turow, Professor of Communication, University of Pennsylvania


Joseph Turow
Source: The New York Times
August 20, 2018

The Unlikely Activists Who Took On Silicon Valley — and Won

This article outlines the path one California resident, Alastair Mactaggart, took to pursue privacy legislation through a statewide ballot initiative. University of California, Berkeley privacy expert Chris Hoofnagle was asked to share his expertise.


Chris Hoofnagle
Source: The New York Times Magazine
August 14, 2018
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TAP Blog

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.”

TAP Staff Blogger

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

Soft Law: New Tools for Governing Emerging Technologies

Traditionally, nations harmonized their own regulation of new technologies with the rules of other nations through negotiation of international treaties. "Soft law" tools such as private standards and codes of conduct are less resource-intensive than treaties.

By: Braden Allenby, Gary Marchant