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Category Archives: Digital Rights

What Makes Data Personal?

Montagnani, Maria Lillà and Verstraete, Mark, What Makes Data Personal? (June 4, 2022). UC Davis Law Review, Vol. 56, No. 3, Forthcoming 2023, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4128080 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4128080
“Personal data is an essential concept for information privacy law. Privacy’s boundaries are set by personal data: for a privacy violation to occur, personal data must be involved. And an individual’s right to control information extends only to personal data. However, current theorizing about personal data is woefully incomplete. In light of this incompleteness, this Article offers a new conceptual approach to personal data. To start, this Article argues that personal data is simply a legal construct that describes the set of information or circumstances where an individual should be able to exercise control over a piece of information. After displacing the mythology about the naturalness of personal data, this Article fashions a new theory of personal data that more adequately tracks when a person should be able to control specific information. Current approaches to personal data rightly examine the relationship between a person and information; however, they misunderstand what relationship is necessary for legitimate control interests. Against the conventional view, this Article suggests that how the information is used is an indispensable part of the analysis of the relationship between a person and data that determines whether the data should be considered personal. In doing so, it employs the philosophical concept of separability as a method for making determinations about which uses of information are connected to a person and, therefore, should trigger individual privacy protections and which are not. This framework offers a superior foundation to extant theories for capturing the existence and scope of individual interests in data. By doing so, it provides an indispensable contribution for crafting an ideal regime of information governance. Separability enables privacy and data protection laws to better identify when a person’s interests are at stake. And further, separability offers a resilient normative foundation for personal data that grounds interests of control in a philosophical foundation of autonomy and dignity values—which are incorrectly calibrated in existing theories of personal data. Finally, this Article’s reimagination of personal data will allow privacy and data protection laws to more effectively combat modern privacy harms such as manipulation and inferences.”

What Litigators Should Know Now about Non-Fungible Tokens

ABA Litigation: Jurisdictional and other legal considerations in the booming NFT market. ” Many purists think decentralization is the most important promise of cryptocurrency, but to grow in popularity, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) need to guarantee rights to artists. NFTs are non-interchangeable units of data, stored on a blockchain, that can be sold and traded. NFTs… Continue Reading

The Digital Transformation of Law: Are We Prepared for Artificially Intelligent Legal Practice?

Bridgesmith, Larry and Elmessiry, Adel, The Digital Transformation of Law: Are We Prepared for Artificially Intelligent Legal Practice? (2021). Akron Law Review, Vol. 54, No. 4, 2021, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4113531 “We live in an instant access and on-demand world of information sharing. The global pandemic of 2020 accelerated the necessity of remote working and… Continue Reading

The Race to Hide Your Voice Voice recognition

Wired: “Your voice reveals more about you than you realize. To the human ear, your voice can instantly give away your mood, for example—it’s easy to tell if you’re excited or upset. But machines can learn a lot more: inferring your age, gender, ethnicity, socio-economic status, health conditions, and beyond. Researchers have even been able… Continue Reading

The Supreme Court Is Building Its Own Surveillance State

Wired – Searching clerks’ phones to find out who leaked the Dobbs opinion sets a dangerous precedent of exploiting digital rights. “Following the leak of a draft opinion striking down abortion rights, the Supreme Court’s police force (the Marshal’s Office) launched an unprecedented probe to uncover who leaked the decision. Already, authorities have demanded phone… Continue Reading

Clearview AI Banned From Selling Facial Recognition Database Access to Companies

EPIC: “A legal settlement filed in ACLU v. Clearview AI will prohibit Clearview from selling access to its facial recognition database to companies and private individuals. The case was brought under Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), which allows private right of actions. EPIC previously filed an amicus brief before the 9th Circuit defending an individual’s right… Continue Reading

Librarian’s lament: Digital books are not fireproof

ZDNet – Chris Freeland is a librarian and Director of the Internet Archive’s Open Libraries program: “The disturbing trend of school boards and lawmakers banning books from libraries and public schools is accelerating across the country. In response, Jason Perlow made a strong case last week for what he calls a “Freedom Archive,” a digital repository of… Continue Reading

The West already monopolized scientific publishing. Covid made it worse.

Quartz: “The coronavirus pandemic triggered a torrent of academic papers. By August 2021, at least 210,000 new papers on covid-19 had been published, according to a Royal Society study…Of the 720,000-odd authors of these papers, nearly 270,000 were from the US, the UK, Italy or Spain. Scientists have paid to publish their covid-19 research—sometimes as… Continue Reading

Libraries, Publishers Battle Over Terms for E-Books’ Use

Bloomberg Law: “States that want to give libraries a better deal on e-books are watching a publishers’ suit against Maryland, the first state to set terms for how digital books are distributed for public borrowing. Library associations, including the American Library Association and several state groups, have been pushing for state laws to require publishers… Continue Reading

Digitized Data as a Political Object

“Digitized data is used as a powerful tool: national security actors see it as a surveillance tool, and the Information, Communications, and Technology (ICT) sector treats it as an economic commodity with great financial value. Fundamental to the findings in this book, data is now tied to your personal identity, and is therefore worthy of… Continue Reading

Mozilla guide to help you shop for safe, secure connected products

CNET – “Santa isn’t alone in keeping an eye on you this holiday season. Nearly a third of the 151 popular connected gifts analyzed by the Mozilla Foundation as part of its annual “Privacy Not Included” shopping guide didn’t meet basic standards for digital security and privacy, the digital rights group said Tuesday. Among the… Continue Reading