archive: in the news
Surveillance Tools at Issue in Lawsuit
Wall Street Journal, July 16, 2012 by Chad Bray
The American Civil Liberties Union will be in federal court Tuesday as it seeks to force the U.S. Department of Justice and other federal agencies to detail how often they use surveillance tools that capture the email addresses contacted, phone numbers called and websites visited by a person. Such tools are known as pen register and trace-and-track technology, and while the government believes they’re critical for law enforcement, privacy advocates are concerned about the lack of transparency on how often the searches are used. Paul M. Schwartz, a law professor and director of the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology, said the use of pen registers and trap-and-trace technology is likely up because the public is spending more time on smartphones and the Internet. The data available to agencies is much broader than when investigators tracked phone calls to and from a single line, he said. “It’s not surprising they’re going to make use of it,” he said.
Facing the PII: Problem: A Defining Moment in the Online Age
Transcript, Spring 2012 by Andrew Cohen
The law lacks a uniform definition of personally identifiable information (PII). At the same time, private companies are now gathering and reusing information linked to consumers without their permission. In an article with Daniel Solove, Paul Schwartz argues that the definition of PII should be based on the “risk of identification.” The Schwartz-Solove article is resonating strongly with policymakers and practitioners.
Trying to Balance Privacy, Free Speech on Internet
San Francisco Chronicle, February 10, 2012 by James Temple
Is there a right to be forgotten online? U.S. courts tend to defer to the free flow of information with exceptions while European judges tend to prioritize the potential harm to individuals. Paul Schwartz, faculty director for the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology, has studied the origins of this legal chasm. “Americans just feel more comfortable with this rough-and-tumble social discourse,” he said. In an interview, he said European – particularly German – perceptions are rooted in 19th century philosophers such as Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, as well as the way private information was used against citizens under communist rule and dictators like Adolf Hitler.
Online Privacy Battle Brings Gains, Setbacks
San Francisco Chronicle, January 27, 2012 by James Temple
Consumers are actively monitoring privacy settings but without stronger rules, the ever-changing environment poses risks for consumers and mixed rewards for companies. Paul Schwartz, faculty director for the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology, noted that the broad technological trends of the day, in and of themselves, raise “all kinds of data security and privacy issues.” The mere fact that more and more people are using social networks, smart phones, cloud computing, location-aware apps and mobile commerce means there are increasingly large troves of rich, personal data. These whet the appetites of businesses and hackers alike, and raise a host of complicated legal questions, he said.
Paul Schwartz Calls for Privacy Standards
Washington Internet Daily, January 5, 2012 by Kamala Lane
There should be incentives for companies “to keep information in the least identifiable form possible,” Schwartz said. Companies also should have an obligation “to track what happens to records after they’re released” and risk assessments are needed to figure out when that identifiable information is likely to become identified “and allow people to assess the levels of risk that follow.”
Paul Schwartz Compares US and European Privacy Law
American Public Media, Marketplace, September 14, 2011 by John Moe
“In Europe, there is a comprehensive privacy law in each nation which requires that online privacy be protected. In the U.S., we regulate sector by sector, and there are notable gaps in protection. We have statutory protection for things like health care privacy, video privacy, credit card records. But there is no one law that protects online privacy. The exception for that is there is a Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, but that only protects those who are 13 years or younger.”
Paul Schwartz Reacts to Facebook’s Political Strategy
The New York Times, March 28, 2011 by Miguel Helft and Matt Richtel
Schwartz said Facebook seemed to have learned quickly that demands for regulation would pile up, not just from users and advocacy groups, but from competitors. “What they’re doing is pragmatic, and it’s pragmatic to do it sooner rather than later,” he said.
Paul Schwartz Comments on Google’s Opt-Out Policy for Germany
The Christian Science Monitor, August 12, 2010 by Stephen Kurczy
Street View’s opt-out option, says Schwartz, highlights how Web users can snoop without being snooped on. “The Golden Rule is not enforced or enforceable,” he says. “Google is not saying that since you’ve opted out, you can’t use [Street View] forever more. It allows people to become free riders.”
Paul Schwartz Cites Privacy Concerns if Personal Tax Info Publicized
The New York Times, February 13, 2010 by Anna Bernasek
In a 2008 paper, Schwartz concluded that tax returns would “increasingly be subject to the same kind of forces, legal and otherwise, as other personal information.”
Paul Schwartz Wants Regulators to Stay Focused on Privacy Policies
BNA Electronic Commerce, November 11, 2009 by Amy E. Bivins
“Privacy notices make companies think about what their privacy practices are,” Schwartz said. “Policies also give privacy advocates an opportunity to examine business practices related to consumer information.”…When it comes to data-sharing between online services, transparency gains additional importance, he added.
Paul Schwartz Raises Privacy Concerns of Online Advertising
The New York Times, July 31, 2009 by Stephanie Clifford
Schwartz said the unwitting participation by consumers makes online marketing different from offline. “Interactive media really gets into this creepy Orwellian thing, where it’s a record of our thoughts on the way to decision-making,” he said. “We’re like the data-input clerks now for the industry.”
Paul Schwartz Scrutinizes Warrantless Wiretap Case
NPR, Morning Edition, June 4, 2009 by Martin Kaste
For almost three years, the Bush administration tried to quash the lawsuit, arguing that the wiretapping program was simply too secret for court. This is known as the state secrets privilege, and that usually is enough to convince a court to shut a case down. “The general attitude has been extremely deferential and has taken the government at its word, and has decided that if there are state secrets, then there’s state secrets,” Schwartz says.
Paul Schwartz Warns Against Advertiser Tracking on Smartphones
The New York Times, March 11, 2009 by Stephanie Clifford
Schwartz said tracking by advertisers was problematic. “People should be allowed to trade most kinds of information for value as long as the terms are fair,” he said. “They’re not fair now.”
Paul Schwartz Calls for Reform of Telecommunications Surveillance Laws
San Francisco Chronicle, March 1, 2009 by Paul M. Schwartz
“Sadly, rational inquiry about telecommunications surveillance is prevented by the haphazard and incomplete information that the government collects about its own behavior. Neither the government nor outside experts know the basic facts about our surveillance practices.”
Paul Schwartz Believes Privacy Officers Provide Needed Advice on Data Protection
Chronicle of Higher Education, November 21, 2008 by Lisa Guernsey
“A chief privacy officer,” Schwartz says, “can clear up these misunderstandings.”
Paul Schwartz Explains Impact of US-EU Privacy Agreement
The New York Times, June 28, 2008 by Charlie Savage
“The reason it’s a big deal is that it is going to lower the whole transaction cost for the U.S. government to get information from Europe.… Most of the negotiations will already be completed. They will just be able to say, ‘Look, we provide adequate protection, so you’re required to turn it over.’”
Paul Schwartz Chastises Bush Administration for Illegal Wire Tapping
KGO-TV, February 15, 2008 by Mark Matthews
“If the government feels that it needs to do something that the law does not allow, what they need to do is go to Congress and say, look, we’ve got to change the law,” said Schwartz.