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:
"“This decision opens up the landscape for cellular providers to become bigger advertising platforms in the future based on knowing whom you text and scanning the content of your messages,” says Albert Gidari, director of privacy for the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School."
"Or neighbors could band together and sell the data, said Albert Gidari, consulting director of privacy at Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society. Minute information on comings and goings would allow businesses “to look at a whole community through the lens of these devices,” he said."
"Albert Gidari, consulting director of privacy at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society, said under current regulations Google had little option but to comply with Benfica’s subpoena. Internet companies get hundreds of thousands of similar requests, said Gidari, who spent 20 years representing some of the world’s biggest technology companies including Google. “It isn’t scalable to know what’s behind each case,” he said.
Google already goes “one step beyond” what it is required to do by giving notice of the subpoena to users, he added."
"“The lack of potential for harm certainly is a factor in a decision not to disclose,” said Albert Gidari, the consulting director of privacy at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society, in an email."
"And it is this that so frustrates law enforcement officials. "If the UK has complaints, it is with the US Department of Justice for failing to adequately staff and promptly process the requests," says Albert Gidari, the director of privacy at the Stanford Law School. In short: it isn't completely the fault of tech companies – Apple's encryption fight with the FBI in 2016 showed they are willing in some cases to stand up for the privacy rights of users."
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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.