PRIVACY + SECURITY BLOG

News, Developments, and Insights

high-tech technology background with eyes on computer display

The Digital Person: Technology and Privacy in the Information Age

    I am now offering the full text of my book The Digital Person:  Technology and Privacy in the Information Age (NYU Press 2004) online for FREE download. […]

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The SeaWorld Killer Whale Death Video and the Right to Privacy

Orca Sea World

Jessica Bennett at Newsweek brought my attention to a story about the family of the killer whale trainer (Dawn Brancheau) who was killed while training the whale at SeaWorld: Brancheau’s family announced this week that they would seek an injunction to protect the release of the death imagery, captured by SeaWorld’s surveillance cameras on Feb. […]

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Should People’s Political Donations Be Public?

Privacy of Political Donations

Pursuant to the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA), people’s campaign contributions must be accessible to the public. I’ve long found this to be problematic when applied to the campaign contributions of individuals. Certainly, information must be reported to the government to ensure that campaign contribution limits aren’t exceeded. But I don’t know why it is […]

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When Wikipedia Knows Something Too Soon

Wikipedia Logo PNG 01

One of the virtues of the online encyclopedia Wikipedia is that it can reflect new information very quickly after it becomes known. But there’s a rather odd development in the case of wrestler Chris Benoit’s murder of his family and suicide. From the AP [link no longer available]: […]

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FBI Plans Data Mining Project

Data Mining

Several years ago, the Department of Defense began developing a program called Total Information Awareness, a massive data mining project analyzing personal information on every citizen of the United States. After a series of blistering op-eds and strong negative public reaction, the Senate voted to stop all funding for the program. […]

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Verifying Identity: From One Foolish Way to Another

Social Security Numbers

For quite some time, banks and financial institutions have been using people’s Social Security Numbers (SSNs) to verify their identities. Suppose you want to access your bank account to check your balance, change addresses, or close out the account. You call the bank, but how does the bank know it’s really you? For a while, […]

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The Reincarnation of Expunged Criminal Records

Redact Document

The New York Times reports: In 41 states, people accused or convicted of crimes have the legal right to rewrite history. They can have their criminal records expunged, and in theory that means that all traces of their encounters with the justice system will disappear. But enormous commercial databases are fast undoing the societal bargain of expungement, […]

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