Chuck Cosson is Senior Corporate Counsel, Privacy, at T-Mobile USA, based in Bellevue, WA. At T-Mobile, Chuck oversees privacy compliance programs and provides privacy guidance on mobile Internet, location services and other business issues. Chuck spent 7 years at Microsoft leading the company’s public policy work on human rights, free expression, and child online safety. He has also worked in Washington, D.C. on telecommunications policy and regulation. His engagement with Stanford will focus on the role of metaphor as a guide for contemporary privacy law - a conception of the Internet not as a “place you go” but as a “tool you use.”
Much consideration has been given to the role of tools in recruitment to extremist violence, the desirability of restricting the use of tools for those purposes, the collateral effects of such restrictions, and the opportunity to use tools for alternative narratives.
This blog concludes that in some cases, restrictions on such uses can be desirable. At the same time though, with few exceptions, the choice of such restrictions should be left to the private sector, and carried out in a way that advances liberal principles. Moreover, there is unlikely to be a solely technological solution to the problem of radicalization or its products, including planning of terrorist attacks. Ultimately, it may be people rather than tools, that are the most effective resource for curtailing extremist violence. Read more » about Tool Without a Handle: Tools for Terror, Tools for Peace
To moderate (edit or block objectionable or illegal content) in the online context implicates the quantum paradox of privacy. To effectively moderate a user, you must know who the user is, and give the user a fixed identity. It can of course be a pseudonymous identity, but even in such cases some degree of privacy, some degree of invisibility, is lost. Accepting that this is necessary if there is to be some effective form of content moderation can move past unworkable solutions Read more » about Tool Without a Handle: Quantum Paradox #3
In this part 2, I describe a quantum principle – the familiar “uncertainty principle” – and how it applies to privacy law and policy considerations. In particular, I observe that the process of managing data respectfully creates something of a quantum paradox. The paradox is a form of an “uncertainty” principle, whereby to better afford privacy for certain data, one in fact needs to know additional information about the data subject Read more » about “Tool Without a Handle”: 21st Century Data Privacy – A Quantum Puzzle – Part 2
Recent reflection has prompted me to ask if quantum mechanics might help illuminate a path towards better dialogue about the Internet and data privacy in particular. Are network technologies tools? Or landscapes? Is the Internet a tool you use or a place you go? Perhaps the networked technologies exhibit properties of both, depending on the beliefs and perspective of the observer.
I consider this question in the instance of defining "personal data," and conclude personal data exhibits quantum properties in the following ways:
1) It can be in more than two places at once, or at least appear to be. The same data element can be both “private” (treated as confidential) and “public” at the same time.
2) The trajectory of data is not always subject to the same mechanical laws of physics that allow for relatively simple predictions of motion;
3) Data are “entangled”: one data element can be influenced by another unrelated and seemingly disconnected data element, even at a distance Read more » about "Tool Without a Handle: 21st Century Privacy – A Quantum Puzzle
In the previous blog, I noted that the logical next step in understanding “privacy as fairness” was to examine if it is possible to identify principles that would effectively guide regulation based on "privacy as fairness." In this blog post, I observe that debate about regulations based on "privacy as fairness" should be oriented by three considerations: 1) regulations should be linked back to legitimate concerns about human emotional and physical well-being, not just abstract concepts such as "autonomy"; 2) regulations should enjoy a broad consensus as to both the harm to be addressed and the effectiveness of the proposed rule, and 3) “privacy as fairness” should not be confused with the protection of privacy as “solitude.” In this light, I note favorably regulations that are demonstrably necessary to ensure access to economic opportunity, while suggesting caution when considering official legal intervention aimed at balancing power among economic actors. Read more » about “Tool Without A Handle”: Privacy and Regulation – An Expanded Rationale