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Rethink class action lawsuits in the digital age

It’s been said that making a mistake requires a person – making a big mistake requires a computer. And we’ve all experienced this. Accidentally hitting “reply all” or sending out a Tweet instead of a direct message.

While we all figured this out pretty quickly, greedy attorneys figured this out too. They realized they can mutate decades-old consumer protection rules into giant pay-days by combining harmless computer errors with class action lawsuits and statutory damages.

READ MORE at The Hill

Privacy

The Hill – European courts should provide a clear ‘Safe Harbor’ for the Internet

To watch BBC News or send online messages to European friends, data must flow across the Atlantic. The EU-U.S. Safe Harbor Agreement makes these data transfers possible – but this might soon change.

We could soon see “cyber-fences” between the U.S. and EU if negotiators from both sides fail to adopt a new agreement by the end of the month.

Read more at The Hill

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Student privacy legislation requires a surgical approach

Our nation’s schools have always been responsible for providing a safe educational environment for our children.  Today, technology in the classroom is making our schools face challenges meeting that responsibility.

But some believe schools must choose between privacy and technology. This is a false choice.  Parents, schools, students, and lawmakers can have both – it’s just a matter of crafting the right policy.

Read more at The Hill

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FTC’s credibility tarnishes as its privacy offensives grow

Having worked for an FTC commissioner, I’ve seen first hand the commission’s regulatory successes. Imbued with the powers of competitive oversight and consumer protection, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) was a beacon for other governmental agencies.

Unfortunately, times have changed. The commission’s recent obsession with media exposure has darkened the FTC’s luminescence.  The FTC has forgotten its core foundational tenet: identify practices that actually harm consumers.

Read More at THE HILL

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Don’t cry wolf about student privacy

When I ask my 3-year old, “why did the boy cry wolf?” he answered, “for attention of course.” It’s a simple enough story with a basic message. Too bad the attorneys at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) didn’t learn that tale when they were youngsters.

READ MORE at TheHill

Game of Chess ca. 1990s

Governments Shouldn’t Play Games with the Internet

Governments often use small players as pawns in their global games of chess. Two weeks ago the European Court of Justice invalidated the EU-US Safe Harbor (“Safe Harbor”) framework, turning Internet businesses into expendable pawns in a government game. But for the past fifteen years, Safe Harbor allowed data flows across the Atlantic — fostering innovation and incredible economic development.

The Safe Harbor agreement mirrors the original goal of the Internet, ubiquitous information sharing regardless of borders. Now, with quadrillions of bytes of data transferred daily between our nations, accounting for trillions of dollars in trade, the Internet is essential for the global economy.

READ MORE at CircleID

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Orwell would say we are missing 1984’s warning

Complex issues are often oversimplified so that they can be communicated in a 15-second sound bite.  And when it comes to oversimplifying complex privacy issues, many would skip serious thoughtful discussion and resort to terms like “Orwellian” or “1984.”  But this “Cliff’s Notes” version of sophisticated privacy discussions rarely matches the actual text of George Orwell’s masterpiece.

We all know the novel 1984, or at least we think we do.  But we tend to focus on the technology involved in the story and miss the underlying warning Orwell was trying to give.  Orwell’s “Big Brother is Watching” was not about fear of new technology or businesses, but a cautionary tale about government’s unfettered access to information and the misuse of technology.  

READ MORE at The Hill

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Carl Szabo Speaks about Facial Recognition on Australian Broadcast TV

Watch Interview Here.

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Delaware Law To Hamstring Maryland Border Businesses

The border towns between the states of Maryland and Delaware are tremendously inter-twined.  The north-south portion of the Maryland and Delaware border forms the Mason-Dixon Line and the east-west Transpeninsular Line cuts across the Delmarva Peninsula where so many residents of Maryland, Virginia, Delaware and Pennsylvania enjoy some of the East Coast’s best beaches.

The Maryland-Delaware border has been a venue for historic disputes.  But in modern times, the border towns of the two states share commerce and customers from Newark, Del to Elkton, Md. and Ocean City, Md. to Fenwick Island, Del.

However, that could soon end as a new Delaware law will place burdensome regulations on Mom-and-Pop businesses, forcing those on the Maryland side to turn away Delaware consumers that use online technologies to place orders and make payments. Read more