The Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School is a leader in the study of the law and policy around the Internet and other emerging technologies.
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
European courts are beginning to sort through one of the most important follow-up questions to last spring’s “Right To Be Forgotten” ruling in Google v. Costeja: what does the case mean for hosting services? The answer matters for the Twitters, Facebooks and YouTubes of the world – not to mention European hosting services like DailyMotion, local political discussion forums, and blogs or newspapers with user comment sections.
Last week, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) released its 2015 Digital Music Report—an annual state of the industry update for digital recorded music. Included in the report, along with year-over-year information about industry initiatives, revenue sources, and consumer preferences, is a policy agenda that highlights where the IFPI will be concentrating its lobbying efforts.
Today we sent a letter to lawmakers expressing security experts' opposition to the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) as well as two other pending bills that purport to be about security information sharing, the Protecting Cyber Networks Act (PCNA), and the National Cybersecurity Protection Advancement Act of 2015. These experts agree that the information sharing bills unnecessarily waive privacy rights because they focus on sharing information beyond that needed for cybersecurity.
Privacy does not cause airplanes to crash; neither does pilot depression. The wave of criticism against Germany’s strict privacy laws in the aftermath of the findings following the calamitous fate of Germanwings Flight 9525 is misguided and quite possibly dangerous.
Today, a court in Istanbul ordered the ban of Twitter, Facebook and YouTube over the publication of the picture of a public prosecutor held hostage by extreme-Left militants. The blocking order on Twitter and Facebook was lifted after the social media sites complied with the request of removal. The ban of YouTube is still in place.