Privacy & Data Collection

Privacy & Data Collection

Research

Adam Thierer | Nov 19, 2014
This paper highlights some of the opportunities presented by the rise of the so-called Internet of Things in general and wearable technology in particular and encourages policymakers to allow these technologies to develop in a relatively unabated fashion. As with other new and highly disruptive digital technologies, however, the Internet of Things and wearable technology will challenge existing social, economic, and legal norms.
Adam Thierer | Aug 14, 2013
Policy debates surrounding online child safety and digital privacy share much in common. Both are complicated by thorny definitional disputes and highly subjective valuations of “harm.” Both issues can be subject to intense cultural overreactions, or “technopanics.”1 It is common to hear demands for technical quick fixes or silver bullet solutions that are simple yet sophisticated.2 In both cases, the purpose of regulation is some form of information control.3 Preventing exposure to objectionable content or communications is the primary goal of online safety regulation, whereas preventing the release of personal information is typically the goal of online privacy regulation.4 The common response is regulation of business practices or default service settings.
Adam Thierer | Mar 18, 2013
This Article—which focuses not on privacy rights against the government, but against private actors—cuts against the grain of much modern privacy scholarship by suggesting that expanded regulation is not the most constructive way to go about ensuring greater online privacy.
Adam Thierer | Jan 25, 2013
This paper will consider the structure of fear appeal arguments in technology policy debates and then outline how those arguments can be deconstructed and refuted in both cultural and economic contexts. Several examples of fear appeal arguments will be offered with a particular focus on online child safety, digital privacy, and cybersecurity. The various factors contributing to “fear cycles” in these policy areas will be documented.
Adam Thierer | Mar 19, 2012
The problems long associated with regulating public utilities could occur with social networks in the absence of competitive pressure.
Adam Thierer | Aug 12, 2011
This paper discusses the unintended consequences of well-intentioned efforts to expand privacy regulations under the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998.

Testimony & Comments

Research Summaries & Toolkits

Expert Commentary

May 10, 2016

The battle between the FBI and Apple over law enforcement access to encrypted communications may have died down a bit, but the international War on Crypto rages on.
Apr 12, 2016

The FBI may have been able to unlock San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook’s work-related iPhone without conscripting Apple as an unwilling hacker, but that has not slowed down the government’s broader war on encrypted technologies one bit.
Mar 23, 2016

The FBI says a mysterious "outside party" has found a way to unlock San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook’s iPhone without assistance from Apple.
Feb 18, 2016

Too often, corporations serve as quiet collaborators for the surveillance state to avoid retribution from the government. On Tuesday, Apple CEO Tim Cook provided a rare and extraordinary exception to this unfortunate trend in the tech industry by publicly resisting a court order to compromise iPhone security .
Jan 19, 2016

Contrary to the pro-CISA crowd's claims, "insufficient sharing" of our personal data by corporations and government agencies had nothing to do with the failure at OPM—and a new joint report from the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security makes this clear.
Sep 15, 2015

An ongoing legal battle between Microsoft and the Department of Justice (DOJ) over a warrant for customer emails has the potential to seriously threaten open Internet policies around the world. The dispute hinges on abstract legal and technical questions about digital ownership and territoriality, but the broad result will be "fundamental to the future of global technology," as Microsoft described it, because the court's decision could limit or expand the federal government’s power to access personal data stored overseas.

Charts

The FBI’s recent conflict with Apple over accessing a locked iPhone in its investigation of the San Bernardino terrorist attack eventually settled out of court when an external party was able to unlock the device. Contrary to the government’s claims that this incident was about just one iPhone, this was far from the first time that law enforcement cited the All Writs Act of 1789 (AWA) to compel private companies to compromise secure devices. This week’s chart shows that law enforcement agencies have attempted to apply this law numerous times in recent years for a range of criminal offenses, particularly drug-related crimes.

Experts

Podcasts

Adam Thierer | November 26, 2014
In an interview on Marketplace radio, Adam Thierer discusses the EU's "right to be forgotten" policy.

Recent Events

Join Adam Thierer, senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center, for a Regulation University to discuss the best course of action for dealing with network technologies, without derailing innovation.

Books

Media Clippings

Adam Thierer | Jul 03, 2014
This excerpt originally appeared in Real Clear Policy.
Adam Thierer | Oct 08, 2013
Adam Thierer cited at Politico.
Adam Thierer | Jun 24, 2013
"High technology companies are among the fastest growing lobbying shops in Washington," said Adam Thierer.
Adam Thierer | Jun 13, 2013
"Generally speaking, most libertarians are pretty skeptical of the highly deferential ‘just-trust-your-government’ attitude on display in that essay," Thierer told BuzzFeed.
Adam Thierer | Jun 11, 2013
Adam Thierer argues they’re very different because the government has the power to take our life, liberty, and property, while private parties are just trying to offer us better products and services.
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