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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Inside the Decades-Long Fight to Protect Your Children’s Data From Advertisers

"I want these tools, you want these tools, everyone wants these tools. The question is: on what terms are they offered to you?" — Chris Hoofnagle, Professor of Law, University of California, Berkeley

Chris Hoofnagle
Source: New York Magazine
August 13, 2018

Twitter Target of Accused Capital Gazette Gunman Says Gaps in Maryland Law Allowed Threats to Persist

"You can offend people, you can draw strong emotion, but it’s protected speech." — Danielle Citron, Professor of Law, University of Maryland

Danielle Citron
Source: NBC Washington
August 6, 2018

Drugstore Rewards Programs Can Help You Save

"Drugstore chains may, for instance, monitor your credit card purchases in their stores to help them anticipate what you might buy in the future." — Joseph Turow, Professor of Communication, University of Pennsylvania

Joseph Turow
Source: Consumer Reports
July 25, 2018

Health Insurers Are Vacuuming Up Details About You — And It Could Raise Your Rates

"The risk of improper use is extremely high. And data scores are not properly vetted and validated and available for scrutiny." — Frank Pasquale, Professor of Law, University of Maryland

Frank Pasquale
Source: NPR’s Morning Edition
July 17, 2018

Schools Face Civil Liberties Battles in Effort to Adopt Facial Recognition

As Evan Selinger, a professor of philosophy at the Rochester Institute of Technology, pointed out in a recent essay, facial recognition is a technology so "potently, uniquely danger," "so inherently toxic," it warrants being "completely rejected, banned, and stigmatized" — not just in schools, but everywhere.

Evan Selinger
Source: The Journal
July 17, 2018

Instagram Account That Sought Harassment Tales May Be Unmasked

"What the court’s going to do in a searching way, realizing free speech and anonymous speech is on the line, is ask: Is there a real lawsuit here?" — Danielle Citron, Professor of Law, University of Maryland

Danielle Citron
Source: The New York Times
July 1, 2018

Why Tech Giants Will Love the Supreme Court's Ruling for Digital Privacy

"We’ve entered an age in which people are constantly sharing lots of information about themselves with Google or with AT&T or with their internet service provider. All of the sudden the fact that that information is being shared does not mean that the government can get that information without a search warrant." — Lior Strahilevitz, Professor of Law, University of Chicago

Lior Strahilevitz
Source: Yahoo Finance
June 22, 2018

Bias Detectives: The Researchers Striving to Make Algorithms Fair

"What concerns me most is the idea that we’re coming up with systems that are supposed to ameliorate problems [but] that might end up exacerbating them." — Kate Crawford, Principal Researcher, Microsoft Research

Kate Crawford
Source: Nature
June 20, 2018

The Three Major Forms of Surveillance on Facebook

"Commercial and political entities are able to exploit the targeting and predictive power of Facebook through its advertising system. Through what we reveal on our profiles, other Facebook users can watch and track us as we build or break relationships with others, move around, recommend and comment on various posts, and express our opinions and preferences. And governments use Facebook to spy on citizens or anyone they consider suspicious, either by establishing Facebook accounts that appear to be those of friends or allies or by breaking through Facebook security to gather data directly." — Siva Vaidhyanathan, Professor of Media Studies, University of Virginia

Siva Vaidhyanathan
Source: Slate
June 12, 2018

From Westworld to Best World for the Internet of Things

"Companies making a critical mass of internet-enabled products should be required to post a “networked safety bond” to be cashed in if they abandon maintenance for a product, or fold entirely. Insurers can price bonds according to companies’ security practices." — Jonathan Zittrain, Professor of Law, Harvard University

Jonathan Zittrain
Source: The New York Times
June 3, 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

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

Privacy on the Ground: Driving Corporate Behavior in the United States and Europe

Interviews with privacy professionals in the United States, Germany, and other countries show that firms in Germany and the United States integrate privacy into the firms’ business strategy; however, in France and Spain, firms see privacy as a set of legal mandates, focusing on compliance.

By: Deirdre Mulligan, Kenneth A. Bamberger