PRIVACY + SECURITY BLOG

News, Developments, and Insights

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The Scope and Potential of FTC Data Protection

FTC Privacy and Security

I am pleased to announce the publication of my article, The Scope and Potential of FTC Data Protection., 83 George Washington Law Review 2230 (2015).  I wrote the article with Professor Woodrow Hartzog.

FTC StatueThe article addresses  the scope of FTC authority in the areas of privacy and data security (which together we refer to as “data protection”).  We argue that the FTC not only has the authority to regulate data protection to the extent it has been doing, but that its granted jurisdiction can expand its reach much more. Normatively, we argue that the FTC’s current scope of data protection authority is essential to the United States data protection regime and should be fully embraced to respond to the privacy harms unaddressed by existing remedies available in tort or contract, or by various statutes. In contrast to the legal theories underlying these other claims of action, the FTC can regulate with a much different and more flexible understanding of harm than one focused on monetary or physical injury.

We contend that the FTC can and should push the development of norms a little more (though not in an extreme or aggressive way). We discuss why the FTC should act with greater transparency and more nuanced sanctioning and auditing.

The article was part of a great symposium organized by the George Washington University Law Review: The FTC at 100.

GW Law Review FTC Symposium

Here is a table of contents of the issue, along with links to where you can access each essay and article.

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The Kafkaesque Sacrifice of Encryption Security in the Name of Security

Encryption Backdoors - Kafkaesque

By Daniel J. Solove

Proponents for allowing government officials to have backdoors to encrypted communications need to read Franz Kafka.  Nearly a century ago, Kafka deftly captured the irony at the heart of their argument in his short story, “The Burrow.”

After the Paris attacks, national security proponents in the US and abroad have been making even more vigorous attempts to mandate a backdoor to encryption.

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Does Cybersecurity Law Work Well? An Interview with Ed McNicholas

Cyber Security

“The US is developing a law of cybersecurity that is incoherent and unduly complex,” says Ed McNicholas, one of the foremost experts on cybersecurity law. 

McNicholas is a partner at Sidley Austin LLP and co-editor of the newly-published treatise, Cybersecurity: A Practical Guide to the Law of Cyber Risk (with co-editor Vivek K. Mohan).   The treatise is a superb guide to this rapidly-growing body of law, and it is nicely succinct as treatises go.  It is an extremely useful volume that I’m delighted I have on my desk.  If you practice in this field, get this book.

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K-12 Schools Must Teach Data Privacy and Security

K-12 Schools Must Teach Data Privacy and Security

By Daniel J. Solove

It is essential that children learn about data privacy and security.  Their lives will be fully enveloped by technologies that involve data.  But far too little about these topics is currently taught in most schools. 

Fortunately, there is a solution, one that I’m proud to have been involved in creating.  The Internet Keep Safe Coalition (iKeepSafe), a nonprofit group of policy leaders, educators, and various experts, has released the Privacy K-12 Curriculum Matrix.

The Privacy K-12 Curriculum Matrix is free.  It can be used by any school, educator, or parent.  It contains an overview of the privacy issues that should be taught, including which details about each issue should be covered in various grade levels.  It includes suggestions for appropriate learning activities for each grade level.

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Alan Westin’s Privacy and Freedom

Alan Westin Privacy and Freedom

Alan Westin Privacy and FreedomI am pleased to announce that Alan Westin’s classic work, Privacy and Freedom, is now back in print.  Originally published in 1967, Privacy and Freedom had an enormous influence in shaping the discourse on privacy in the 1970s and beyond, when the Fair Information Practice Principles (FIPPs) were developed.

The book contains a short introduction by me.  I am truly honored to be introducing such a great and important work.  When I began researching and writing about privacy in the late 1990s, I kept coming across citations to Westin’s book, and I was surprised that it was no longer in print.  I tracked down a used copy, which wasn’t as easy to do as today.  What impressed me most about the book was that it explored the meaning and value of privacy in a rich and interdisciplinary way.

A very brief excerpt from my intro:

At the core of the book is one of the most enduring discussions of the definition and value of privacy. Privacy is a very complex concept, and scholars and others have struggled for centuries to define it and articulate its value. Privacy and Freedom contains one of the most sophisticated, interdisciplinary, and insightful discussions of privacy ever written. Westin weaves together philosophy, sociology, psychology, and other disciplines to explain what privacy is and why we should protect it.

Alan WestinI was fortunate to get to know Alan Westin, as I began my teaching career at Seton Hall Law School in Newark, New Jersey, and Alan lived and worked nearby.  I had several lunches with him, and we continued our friendship when I left to teach at George Washington University Law School.  Alan was kind, generous, and very thoughtful. He was passionate about ideas.  I miss him greatly.

So it is a true joy to see his book live on in print once again.

Here’s the blurb from the publisher:

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