TAP Scholars Work on Data Privacy

By TAP Staff Blogger

Posted on January 28, 2019


Today (January 28th) is Data Privacy Day. Data Privacy Day is an international effort to empower individuals and encourage businesses to respect privacy, safeguard data, and enable trust.


Data Privacy Day began in the United States and Canada in January 2008 as an extension of the Data Protection Day celebration in Europe. It commemorates the Jan. 28, 1981, signing of Convention 108, the first legally binding international treaty dealing with privacy and data protection.


In honor of Data Privacy Day, take a look at some of the work published by TAP scholars to examine the technology policy challenges inherent in data collection and selling by online platforms and telecommunications companies. Additionally, several scholars are studying the issues accompanying the evolving power of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) that draws inferences about people from all the data collected.


Please keep this note in mind: TAP academics are doing a tremendous amount of research and writing on data privacy issues. The below blog posts are taken from the past five months, and highlight only a fragment of the scholarly work being pursued in this area. For a more comprehensive offering of work by TAP scholars on data privacy, please see the TAP Privacy and Security Issues page.


Online Ecosystem and Data Privacy


Facebook and Google Are the New Data Brokers
by Chris Hoofnagle
University of California, Berkeley professor Chris Hoofnagle looks beyond the platform-advertiser relationship at Facebook and Google, and examines the developer-platform incentives within these companies.


Professors Hartzog and Richards Insist It’s Time to Try Something Different on Internet Privacy
by TAP Staff Blogger
In an op-ed article written for The Washington Post, Professors Woodrow Hartzog, Northeastern University, and Neil Richards, Washington University in St. Louis, explain why the current online privacy ecosystem in the U.S. is failing; and, they encourage policymakers to “redefine itself as the country that protects the trust that people give to companies.”


Data Privacy and Trust and Integrity


Largest COPPA Penalty Ever – NY AG Settles with Oath (Formerly AOL)
by Daniel J. Solove
George Washington University law professor Daniel Solove outlines the findings from the New York Attorney General’s investigation into Oath’s violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).


The Challenges with Designing Fair Algorithms
by TAP Staff Blogger
Algorithmic technologies utilize data to power artificial intelligence. danah boyd, Founder, Data & Society, Catherine Tucker, MIT, and Joseph Turow, University of Pennsylvania, share essays about their work with artificial intelligence and ethics.


Jonathan Zittrain and Jack Balkin Propose Information Fiduciaries to Protect Individual Privacy Rights
by TAP Staff Blogger
In the current digital economy, where consumers’ personal information is gathered, tracked, and used for corporate gain, Harvard professor Jonathan Zittrain and Yale professor Jack Balkin question how consumers can trust online services when there are no real guarantees that online platforms will not abuse that trust.


Federal Trade Commission and Data Privacy


The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) held a series of hearings on Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century to examine whether broad-based changes in the economy, evolving business practices, new technologies, or international developments might require adjustments to competition and consumer protection law, enforcement priorities, and policy. Several TAP scholars shared their insights and expertise during these hearings. TAP reported on 2 of the 10 hearings:


TAP Scholars Share Insights with FTC at Competition and Consumer Protection Hearing
by TAP Staff Blogger
Several TAP scholars (Alessandro Acquisti (Carnegie Mellon University), Omri Ben-Shahar (University of Chicago Law School), Catherine Tucker (MIT), Daniel Sokol (University of Florida Levin College of Law), Andrew Gavil (Howard University School of Law), Frank Pasquale (University of Maryland, Francis King Carey School of Law), Lior Strahilevitz (University of Chicago Law School), and Joshua D. Wright (George Mason University, Antonin Scalia Law School)) share their insights during a recent FTC hearing on the role data plays in competition and innovation.


Professors Hartzog and Solove Discuss Consumer Data Security at the FTC Hearings on Consumer Protection
by TAP Staff Blogger
Professors Woodrow Hartzog, Northeastern University School of Law, and Daniel Solove, George Washington University, share their expertise and discuss data breaches, business incentives to invest in data security, and emerging threats to the security of consumer data.


Books and Articles from TAP Scholars on Data Privacy


Notable Privacy and Security Books 2018
by Daniel J. Solove
George Washington University law professor Daniel Solove provides his list of notable books on privacy and security from 2018.


Recent Papers by TAP Scholars Addressing Consumer Data Privacy
by TAP Staff Blogger
For a look at the current state of consumer data privacy, read up on recent works by TAP privacy experts. This post provides an overview of some recently published articles and blogs dealing with consumer data.


Data Privacy and Legislation


41 California Privacy Experts Urge Major Changes to the California Consumer Privacy Act” (located on Professor Goldman’s Technology & Marketing Law Blog)
by Eric Goldman, Santa Clara University

41 California privacy lawyers, professionals, and professors are urging the California legislature to make major changes to the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which the legislature hastily passed in 2018. The letter highlights six significant problems with the CCPA.


US Federal Privacy Preemption Part 1: History of Federal Preemption of Stricter State Laws
US Federal Privacy Preemption Part 2: Examining Preemption Proposals” (both articles are located on International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) website)
by Peter Swire, Georgia Tech

There has been a sharp increase in proposals for general U.S. privacy legislation. One of the most complex and politically charged aspects of such legislation is whether and to what extent a new federal law would “preempt” state privacy protections. To answer that question, it is worthwhile to first examine the history of how previous federal privacy legislation has handled preemption issues (part 1); and then look at the preemption issues that have already arisen in recent discussions of possible federal privacy legislation (part 2).