Back in 1993, Professor Oscar Gandy, Jr. wrote one of the most insightful and prescient books about privacy: The Panoptic Sort: A Political Economy of Personal Information. Oscar Gandy is an emeritus professor with the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, having retired from active teaching in 2006. He has continued to publish in […]
The Nothing-to-Hide Argument – My Essay’s 10th Anniversary
In response to government surveillance or massive data gathering, many people say that there’s nothing to worry about. “I’ve got nothing to hide,” they declare. “The only people who should worry are those who are doing something immoral or illegal.” The nothing-to-hide argument is ubiquitous. This is why I wrote an essay about it 10 […]
When Do Data Breaches Cause Harm?
Harm has become the key issue in data breach cases. During the past 20 years, there have been hundreds of lawsuits over data breaches. In many cases, the plaintiffs have evidence to establish that reasonable care wasn’t used to protect their data. But the cases have often been dismissed because courts conclude that the […]
6 Great TV Series About Privacy and Security
In previous posts, I have listed some of my favorite novels and movies about privacy and security issues. I don’t want to leave out TV, as there are some great TV series too.
Surveillance and Our Addiction to Exposure
Bernard Harcourt’s Exposed: Desire and Disobedience in the Digital Age (Harvard University Press 2015) is an indictment of our contemporary age of surveillance and exposure — what Harcourt calls “the expository society.” Harcourt passionately deconstructs modern technology-infused society and explains its dark implications with an almost poetic eloquence. Harcourt begins by critiquing the metaphor of […]
Can the FBI Force Apple to Write Software to Weaken Its Software?
A dramatic legal battle is taking place that will have dramatic implications for the future of technology, privacy, security, and the extent of government power. The FBI obtained an order from a magistrate judge to force Apple to develop software to help the FBI break into an encrypted iPhone.
Without Scalia, Will There Be a 4th Amendment Revolution?
The passing of Justice Antonin Scalia has brought a wave of speculation about current and future U.S. Supreme Court cases. One area where there might be a significant impact will be the 4th Amendment, which provides the primary constitutional protection against government surveillance and information gathering. A new justice could usher in a dramatic expansion […]
Privacy Need Not Be Sacrificed for Security
I’ve long been saying that privacy need not be sacrificed for security, and it makes me delighted to see that public attitudes are aligning with this view. A Pew survey revealed that a “majority of Americans (54%) disapprove of the U.S. government’s collection of telephone and internet data as part of anti-terrorism efforts.” The anti-NSA […]
The Kafkaesque Sacrifice of Encryption Security in the Name of Security
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 […]
Modernizing Electronic Surveillance Law
By Daniel J. Solove Next year, there will be a milestone birthday for the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) – the primary federal law that regulates how the government and private parties can monitor people’s Internet use, wiretap their communications, peruse their email, gain access to their files, and much more. This is no ordinary […]