I have been writing for some time about the huge discrepancy between the number of wiretaps reported annually by the Administrative Office (AO) of the US Courts and the numbers reported by phone companies and online service providers in their transparency reports. It never occurred to me that the AO might be at fault for some of the apparent under-reporting of wiretaps.
I submitted comments this week to the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission as the Director of Privacy at the Center for Internet and Society (CIS). The emergence of new transportation networks and platforms certainly presents privacy challenges and the private companies in these emerging markets certainly have had their share of privacy mis-steps.
I have written an article on the future of sovereignty in the age of Wikileaks. I welcome Your comments.
"The hidden power structures and the inner workings of these states within the state are exposed by another imperium in imperio, a secretive organization, whose agenda is far from transparent, whose members, resources are unknown, holding back an indefinite amount of information both on itself and on its opponents. The mantra of Wikileaks supporters and the mantra of state and corporate executives are shockingly identical: “We share no information on ourselves; we gather information on everyone else. Only our secrets are valid secrets.” The Eye of Providence on the reverse side of the Great Seal of the United States, surrounded by the words Annuit Cœptis (He approves our undertakings), and Novus Ordo Seclorum, (New Order of the Ages) could very well be the seal of Wikileaks as well."
Each day the stock markets trend lower, seeking floors, comfort. A sense of how bad it could get leads to further erosions of global equity values and banks unwilling to lend. Already Silicon Valley VC funds are sounding the alarm to portfolio companies: tighten up on spending, pare plans, boost revenue-production.
It is now received wisdom that a properly functioning democracy requires transparency and accountability — information shared with the public that allows the public to know what its government is doing. It is equally uncontroversial to say that social media allows for an unprecedented amount of informal but structured dissemination and analysis of information. Despite these two basic points, U.S. freedom of information law has failed to harness the power of these new social media networks and, more importantly, formats in a way that amplifies public knowledge of government information.
"“In our continued effort to increase transparency around government demands for user data, today we begin to make available to the public the National Security Letters (NSLs) we have received where, either through litigation or legislation, we have been freed of nondisclosure obligations,” stated Google’s director of law enforcement, Richard Salgado."
"Omer Tene, vice president of research and education at the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) noted that European countries such as Germany and France submit significantly more government requests than U.S., relative to the population. “This puts in perspective the concerns of European privacy regulators over data transfers to the U.S.,” he wrote in an email to SCMagazine.com.
"Richard Salgado, a legal director at Google, said in a Monday blog post announcing the new report that the disclosure information, which ranges back to 2009, helps "shed light on government surveillance laws and practices across the world."
"In a blog post, Richard Salgado, Google’s legal director for law enforcement and information security, praised the recent adoption of the Privacy Shield agreement between the United States and the European Union. He also highlighted the Judicial Redress Act, which extends certain privacy protections to citizens of some foreign countries.
"But David Levine, a law professor at Elon University, said that while the court ruled the office can be exempted, it does not have to be.
“The administration has actually become more secretive than the prior administration in the sense that the earlier memoranda and orders have, in many ways, not been fulfilled,” Levine said."
""The more consumer-facing companies were more obviously implicated by the NSA revelations, and they started to feel the pressure and the impact on their business," said Kate Westmoreland, a fellow at the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School. "Where a company such as Google has experienced the pressure from consumers [to disclose figures] they see a transparency report as a good way to try to allocate responsibility in the way that they perceive it," she added."
""What's unfortunate is the huge gap of information - understanding what's happening on the Web and what users know about tracking," said conference organiser and assistant Professor of Computer Science Arvind Narayanan. "We're interested in building tools by the public and for the public. We want to make transparency mutually beneficial between businesses and Web users.""
The age of global transparency is upon us. Whether you’re using mobile wiretaps, drones, or satellites, surveillance has become cheap and ubiquitous. And governments aren’t the only ones doing it. These days, almost anyone can peek into the lives of the world’s rich and powerful—and expose sensitive information, using new-fangled technologies or old-fashioned methods like leaks to the press.
In this episode of Foreign Affairs Unedited, we’re taking a closer look at what the end of secrecy really means for governments, politicians, and everyday people.
CIS Affiliate Scholar David Levine interviews Author David Brin, on transparency, reciprocal accountability, cyber-utopianism and the preservation of excitement in an age of cynicism.
CIS Affiliate Scholar David Levine interviews Prof. Arvind Narayanan of Princeton University on Bitcoin, cryptography, privacy and web transparency.
Full video available at CITP's YouTube Channel.
The increasing use of empirical evidence in policy making is raising questions about rules that govern the use of such information. At the same time, empirical studies are influencing legislative analysis and history in ways that we are only beginning to ascertain. In this article, we seek to establish and address the baseline questions that arise in and about a modern legislative body assessing scientific evidence.