Albert Gidari is the Consulting Director of Privacy at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society. He was a partner for over 20 years at Perkins Coie LLP, achieving a top-ranking in privacy law by Chambers, before retiring to consult with CIS on its privacy program. He negotiated the first-ever "privacy by design" consent decree with the Federal Trade Commission on behalf of Google, which required the establishment of a comprehensive privacy program including third party compliance audits. Mr. Gidari is a recognized expert on electronic surveillance law; and, long an advocate for greater transparency in government demands for user data, he brought the first public lawsuit before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, seeking the right of providers to disclose the volume of national security demands received. Mr. Gidari earned an LLM from University of Washington School of Law, his law degree from George Mason University School of Law, and his undergraduate degree from Tulane University.
Hi Res Photo of Albert Gidari
So it seems that the Microsoft Ireland case at the Supreme Court will end with a whimper. Both the Department of Justice and Microsoft agree that the case is moot and should be dismissed due to the passage of the Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data Act or “CLOUD Act.” DoJ told the Court that it has procured a warrant under new section 2713 of the Stored Communications Act.
The Law, Borders, and Speech conference at Stanford’s Center for Internet and Society asked the important question: Which countries’ laws and values will govern Internet users’ online behavior, including their free expression rights? The conference used the landmark article written in 1996 by David G. Post and David R. Johnson to examine whether twenty years on their conclusions still held true. Post and Johnson had concluded that “[t]he rise of the global computer network is destroying the link between geographical location and: (1) the power of local governments to assert control over online behavior; (2) the effects of online behavior on individuals or things; (3) the legitimacy of the efforts of a local sovereign to enforce rules applicable to global phenomena; and (4) the ability of physical location to give notice of which sets of rules apply.” They proposed that national law must be reconciled with self-regulatory processes emerging from the network itself.
An enormous amount of attention has been paid to the oral argument before the Supreme Court in Carpenter v. United States. The transcript provides tantalizing tea leaves as to whether the Court will find a protectable right to privacy in a cell phone subscriber’s location and many pundits seem to think the day went to Carpenter while I haven’t heard anyone touting a government homerun.
Last month, the Supreme Court of California may have decided the future of the public's access to "smart city" data without knowing it. In ACLU v Los Angeles Police Department, the court accepted that raw data collected by Los Angeles police and sheriff departments, using automated licence plate readers (ALPRs), constituted a public record subject to disclosure under California's Public Records Act (CPRA) absent an exemption. The court held that the catch-all disclosure exemption in the CPRA applied, which requires balancing the public interest in preventing disclosure where certain harms can be identified against the public interest served by disclosure such as furthering the public's understanding of the privacy risks of the ALPR program.
If your cell phone is on, your location is known, tracked and recorded, whether you are in your home or in public. As you move around, your location history is created and stored by the carrier, numerous applications on the device, and potentially even the manufacturer of the device or operating system provider. Your consent to capture this information, whether rough location or very granular, may be tacit, inherent in the application’s usage, or freely given when you activate, install or operate the device.
Consulting Director of Privacy at the Stanford Law Center for Internet and Society, Albert Gidari, comments on the landmark U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on location tracking in Carpenter v. United States:
"Albert Gidari, director of privacy for Stanford University Law School’s Center for Internet and Society in California, thoroughly disagrees with his colleagues on the east coast. He told Quartz (in an email, of course) that the Massachusetts decision was “nonsense” and that this question didn’t even really need resolving.
"What measures can authorities undertake in order to avoid cases like the recent Equifax leaks? Should credit bureaus be tested for security breaches by authorities on a regular basis? If so, would the CFPB play a larger role in regulation and enforcement of bureaus?
""If Facebook has no reason to think that it should retain the data (subpoena, court order), then it can make choices about what appears on its platform," said Danielle Citron, a professor of law at the University of Maryland, where she teaches and writes about information privacy.
"“I've worked with this statute for 20 years and I learn something new every time I look at it,” Albert Gidari, the Director of Privacy at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society who has previously represented Google and Facebook on ECPA issues. “It's exceedingly complex.”"
"Albert Gidari, director of the Privacy Center for Internet & Society at Stanford Law School, told the Northern California Record the court made the right call, but noted, “Yes, the California Supreme Court balanced the public's right to disclosure with privacy concerns. But it is ironic in another sense. If the license plate data is so sensitive, why does the government get to collect it in the first place and view it any time without legal process?”"
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Smart cities, smart buildings, and sensors everywhere are creating a web of surveillance and data collection that threaten privacy on a massive scale. It's not too late to change the dynamic. We just have to be smart about it.
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Join Troy Sauro, Senior Privacy Counsel, Google Inc., for a discussion about his journey from being a litigation attorney in a big law firm to becoming a Google privacy counsel. Sponsored by the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School. CIS Director of Privacy Albert Gidari will moderate the discussion.