The dream of hack-proof communication just got a little closer to reality. On August 16, 2016, China launched the world’s first “quantum satellite,” a project the Chinese government hopes will enable it to build a communication system incapable of being hacked. Such a system, if perfected, would allow for encrypted communications between any two devices with absolute certainty that the encryption could not be broken, and with a built-in mechanism for alerting the sender/receiver if someone tried.
Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), more commonly known as “Drones,” are soaring in popularity – the Federal Aviation Administration saw more than 300,000 drones registered in just the first 30 days since they introduced a registration system on December 21, 2015. Drones have the potential to be a truly transformative technology; they are already disrupting business models in economic sectors as diverse as shipping and photography, and their proliferation as consumer devices has barely begun to be realized. However, the quick adoption of this new technology raises serious issues of for privacy, civil rights and civil liberties.
Consumers can expect many benefits from their cars’ increased data collection programs, running the gamut from simple location services like GPS and OnStar to “networked” cars that can communicate their location with other cars on the road to prevent accidents. In the near-future, data collection will even allow cars to care for themselves: technologies currently exist that can spot and diagnose internal mechanical problems long before such problems would have become apparent to a cars’ owner, and cars are increasingly able to download patches directly from their automaker without ever needing to be taken to a mechanic.
As is usually the case when it comes to big data however, the benefits that come from increased collection also bring dangers. Speaking on a panel at the Washington Auto Show last Wednesday, Federal Trade Commissioner Maureen K. Olhausen advised the crowd that as the collection and disseminated of data by cars continues to increase, the automotive industry will need take reasonable steps to secure car owner and driver information or face the possibility of federal enforcement actions.
The average American today generates more media than they did at any other point in history, and the ease with which our communications, photos, and videos are sent and stored digitally means most of us have more media stored in the cloud or on a single digital device than previous generations would have created in an entire lifetime. However, even as the amount of media we create and store has increased, the laws governing its search and seizure have failed to keep up. Under federal law and the laws of most states, the same information may be subject to different levels of protection from government authorities depending on whether that information is in the form of an e-mail stored in the cloud or a letter stored in a desk drawer.
California is attempting to change that equation. On October 8, 2015, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law the California Electronic Communications Privacy Act (CalECPA, SB 178), a sweeping bill
In an expected but controversial move, Google has rejected a demand by the French Data Privacy authority CNIL to apply the European “Right to be Forgotten” worldwide.
We have covered the E.U.’s Right to be Forgotten before, but here is a quick recap: under the E.U. rule, individuals have the right to require organizations that control personal data about them (“data controllers”) to delete all such data and abstain from further disseminating it. A data controller is required to act on an individual’s request to delete their personal data without delay unless they have a legitimate reason for not doing so. A series of European Court rulings established that search engines such as Google qualify as “data controllers,” and that search engines can be required to “delist” links to content as a means of preventing that content from being disseminated. Most surprising however, is the suggestion in these rulings that Google can be required to delist links from all Google domains, not just from domains in the E.U. or in specific E.U. countries.
The past few years have seen exponential growth in the use of technology in the classroom, with applications ranging from the increased availability and use of e-books to the displacement of physical classrooms through Massive Open Online Courses (also known as MOOCs). One of the fastest growing segments of the education technology market relates to online educational services and applications, which are designed to track individual student progress and use the data gathered to deliver an individualized learning experience to each user. However, while online educational services and applications hold significant potential, the gathering of massive amounts of data has also sparked fears about what data will be collected, from whom, how it will be used, and whether, if at all, it will be deleted. This fear is especially prevalent when it comes to online educational services and applications targeted at children.