Court Recommends Denying the Public Access to Its Sealed Surveillance Docket

In September 2016, my colleague Jennifer Granick (now at the ACLU) and I filed a petition in the federal district court for the Northern District of California that sought to unseal years' worth of sealed surveillance matters filed in that court. It is well-established that the public and the press have First Amendment and common-law rights to access court records.

The Promise and Peril of Personalization

In this essay, we explore how personalization works for and against people. Personalization is just a tool. Society needs to pay attention to what is being personalized and to what and whose ends.

New Spanish Law raises concerns over use of sensitive data by political parties

The new Law on Data Protection and Digital Rights (LOPD), recently enacted in Spain, includes a highly controversial provision allowing political parties and organizations to collect and use personal data revealing political views of individuals. The LOPD aims at adapting the national legal framework to the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which became fully applicable on May 25, 2018.

Tool Without A Handle: Tools For Meaning, Part 2

“Tool Without A Handle”: Tools and the Search for Meaning – Part II

"If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment." ~ Marcus Aurelius

The last post in this series observed optimal policy thinking aims at allowing people sufficient control over technologies they may use them to apply their own capacities and, in that process, find meaning. This post explores that point further; in particular how emphasis on technology, rather than people, falls short of that aim.

Online Anti-Piracy Enforcement and the Normalization of Public-Private Speech Regulation

In response to a global backlash in the wake of Brexit and the 2016 US presidential election, dominant tech companies are scrambling to stave off increased governmental regulation of their information handling practices. It is an attractive strategy for them to cut deals with regulators whereby they agree to follow privately negotiated rules in lieu of command-and-control regulation. With respect to content moderation, this form of hybrid public-private regulation could undermine First Amendment limits on state action that are designed to protect individual citizens from official censorship. This post explores the role of anti-piracy voluntary agreements in normalizing hybrid public-private speech regulation on the Internet.

The new Audiovisual Media Services Directive: turning video hosting platforms into private media regulatory bodies

The European Parliament recently took the final vote on the new Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD). The text, which can be considered final, now awaits only the formal approval of the Council. The AVMSD will become the first legally binding instrument to impose new, and extensive, responsibilities for content regulation on privately owned Internet platforms. They are required to establish and apply detailed rules in areas such as hate speech, child pornography, protection of children’s development and preventing terrorism.


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