Chertoff: Protect electronic conversation privacy today

Michael Chertoff by Michael Chertoff, Chertoff Group
Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Because they instinctively and practically recognize this similarity, American citizens increasingly want equivalent privacy protections for their own electronic and telephonic communications. They want law enforcement in the U.S. to be responsive to their new customs and practices. Through our work with tech companies, we also know that these outdated rules limit their global business opportunities. So, the time is ripe to revisit how electronic communications are intercepted by law enforcement. In an ideal world, we want to both improve law enforcement access and regularize it while affording greater privacy protections to Americans.

France asks U.S. authorities and Internet firms to cooperate more closely in terror investigations

Jeff Gould by Jeff Gould, SafeGov.org
Friday, February 27, 2015

On a recent visit to Silicon Valley, France’s Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve listed the reasons why he would like to see better U.S. cooperation in cases like the Charlie Hebdo attack. Before citing those reasons, let’s briefly review how things are supposed to work. Most countries have what are called Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties (MLATs) that establish standard procedures for cooperation with the police and legal authorities of other countries.

The LEADS Act: A Transatlantic Olive Branch from the U.S. to Europe Over Government Access to Data

Jeff Gould by Jeff Gould, SafeGov.org
Friday, February 20, 2015

A group of American senators from both parties are offering Europe an olive branch in the transatlantic war of words over Internet surveillance. Concretely, they propose to update the antiquated 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) by putting tighter limits on when and how U.S. courts can access electronic data stored abroad. ECPA was a forward looking law when it was passed. Such things as the Internet and email already existed. Personal computers were commonplace. A few people even had (brick-sized) mobile phones. The law was expressly intended to give courts and police agencies conducting criminal investigations a legitimate way to get at data stored on these devices while still protecting the privacy rights of users. But the role and scale of online technology in the world are vastly different today than in 1986. No one could have imagined then that one day hundreds of millions of Europeans would routinely store trillions of personal electronic documents on shared computers located in Europe but owned and remotely operated by American firms. Such a scenario would have been pure science fiction.

Safe Passage, Portability and Who Owns My Data

Scott Andersen by Scott Andersen, CGI
Thursday, February 19, 2015

Recently proposed legislation provides an interesting backdrop to this conversation. The bipartisan Law Enforcement Access to Data Stored Abroad (“LEADS”) Act is currently in the US Senate. LEADs basically says the US government cannot violate the sanctity of data hosted in another country. Who knows what form this will take or if this interesting potential legislation will make it out of congress. It does however make for an interesting conversation. There is an historical concept called Safe Passage. Safe Passage is simply moving through hostile lands without fear of attack. In the cloud world this would be akin to laws that supported the safe transport of data regardless of data sovereignty or ownership.

Law Enforcement Access To Data Stored Abroad Act Introduced

Bradley Shear by Bradley Shear, Law Office of Bradley S. Shear
Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The passage of the LEADS Act is needed not only to better protect digital privacy, but also from a business perspective. According to The New York Times, the U.S. cloud computing industry may lose tens of billions of dollars in business because international companies and governments have lost confidence in U.S. technology companies due to the NSA surveillance programs that Edward Snowden exposed in 2013. Forrester Research has indicated that these losses could be as high as $180 billion dollars for U.S. based firms.

Getting Smart about Smartphones

Julie Anderson by Julie Anderson, AG Strategy Group
Wednesday, February 04, 2015

If the 20th century was the age of the automobile, the 21st already looks to be the century of smartphones, devices and big data. In the past five years alone, smartphones have gone from being reserved for the world’s wealthiest to full integration into our daily lives. But as next-generation technologies such as Apple’s Siri, Google Voice, smart watches, and other interactive, data-collecting tools are adopted faster than any previous technology in human history, this begs the question—how much do consumers actually know about them? And what can we, as consumers, do to protect our personal data from misuse?

Why Your Data May Need a Passport

David Canellos by David Canellos, PerspecSys
Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Those who try to live by the rule ‘keep it simple’ would likely pull their hair out in frustration if they had to navigate the world of emerging data residency laws. The actual physical location of data is no longer cut and dry, as electronic forms of information and in particular, the cloud, have changed the entire IT landscape (for the greater good in this author’s opinion). For years now, electronic information has moved around globe in an instant, helping us purchase goods/services, transfer healthcare and financial documents and share a slew of enterprise data of varying degrees of sensitivity. The cloud has taken this sharing one step further, empowering access to data from just about anywhere, and from any device with an internet connection. Since this data can be accessed and more importantly ‘stored’ in the cloud, how do you determine where the actual data resides? This is where things get interesting.

Opinion: Privacy could be the victim if police body cameras aren't more hack-proof

Paul Rosenzweig by Paul Rosenzweig, The Chertoff Group
Tuesday, February 03, 2015

President Obama's request that Congress spend $75 million to outfit police with body cameras after the Michael Brown shooting reflected a consensus that the technology will provide a clear record of interaction between the public and law enforcement. But while civil rights and police groups agree that video can protect citizens and officers, the security within these systems needs to be addressed long before some 50,000 police strap cameras to their uniforms.

The impact of unique data laws would be significant

Scott Andersen by Scott Andersen, CGI
Friday, January 16, 2015

I have been fortunate to work with a number of young innovators lately. They ask me questions about things that are a blast to discuss. How do I reach my maximum potential market? What is the right price point for my device, and so on? The one thing I’ve noticed is that they aren’t concerned about the IP they have created. Recently, SafeGov posted a link to a WSJ article written by Michael Chertoff talking about the need for a rule of law protecting information. It got me thinking about the questions the young innovators have been asking me concerning what they are building.

Why Google is ignoring Obama’s challenge to sign the Student Privacy Pledge

Jeff Gould by Jeff Gould, SafeGov.org
Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Several months ago a group of privacy advocates and education software providers, with prominent support from the Obama administration, overcame their differences and agreed to a Student Privacy Pledge. The 12 commitments of this pledge make for a remarkably strong document that places important limits on how children’s data can be used by commercial firms. It comes at a time when interest and investment in education technology is booming as never before. Among the pledge’s key commitments...