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
Earlier this year, I wrote that the wiretap numbers reported by the Administrative Office (AO) of the US Courts in its 2014 Wiretap Report and those disclosed in transparency reports by the major telecommunications companies just didn’t add up. While the AO reported 3554 wiretaps in 2014, the four major U.S. carriers reported 10,712 wiretaps implemented for the same period -- a threefold discrepancy.
The Email Privacy Act is moving forward in the Senate. S.356, which currently has 28 cosponsors, would require a warrant for stored content -- essentially codifying current law and practice over the last six years. The House passed H.R. 699 overwhelmingly with 314 cosponsors, passing unanimously by a vote of 419-0.
The FBI demand for access to a locked iPhone by compelling Apple to write new software to undo its security features has sucked the oxygen out of the surveillance-privacy debate over the last few weeks. So much is this the case that coverage of the markup of H.R. 699, the Email Privacy Act, tentatively scheduled for March 22, seems sure to be lost in the oral argument on Apple’s case, which is scheduled to be heard the same day. But the Email Privacy Act is incredibly important and it deserves attention.
The Department of Justice (DoJ) filed its response yesterday to Apple's motion to vacate the court’s order that directed Apple to write new code and certify it to circumvent a security feature configured to prevent access to a device. Reaction to the tone and DoJ analysis was swift, and it highlights the stakes of the case for both sides.
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:
"But Albert Gidari, consulting director of privacy at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society, said it's not unusual to see a tech company without a CPO.
"While there have been some very public mistakes, like many tech companies, [Uber] seems to have learned, albeit the hard way, to invest in a serious privacy and security infrastructure," Gidari said. "It is important for the CPO to be in the "C" suite, and Uber has made a serious hire with Ruby Zefo and Simon Hania.""
"“That was a green light for telecommunications carriers to monetize customer location data,” said Stanford University law professor Al Gidari, who helped draft the location-data guidelines that wireless industry group CTIA used to self-regulate. He said the FCC has been “woefully inadequate” at policing the carriers’ use of location information."
"Kavanaugh could be a “potential vote for retrenchment on privacy and the Fourth Amendment,” said Albert Gidari, director of privacy at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society. As Kavanaugh moves through the confirmation process, he added, “I don't think there will be any surprises, as his unabashed view that national security trumps privacy is pretty clearly articulated in Klayman.”
“In short,” Gidari said, “the privacy community isn't having cocktails over this one.”"
"What does that mean for a shorter period? Not clear, said Albert Gidari, consulting director of privacy at the Stanford Law Center for Internet and Society.
"As long as they are following their own privacy policies, carriers “are largely free to do what they want with the information they obtain, including location information, as long as it’s unrelated to a phone call,” said Albert Gidari, the consulting director of privacy at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society and a former technology and telecommunications lawyer. Even when the phone is not making a call, the system receives location data, accurate within a few hundred feet, by communicating with the device and asking it which cellphone towers it is near."
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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.