Things that caught our eye

What has David Bowie got to do with Privacy?

13 Jan, 2016   | by:

Like all of you, our team here at theiii were devasted to hear about the passing of Bowie… However, without much ado we do not want to refrain from sharing this piece on the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP)’s Website written by @JedBracy.

So check out “David Bowie just proved that privacy is not dead” to get the answer to our Question and read a heartwarming piece about David Bowie.

We’ll be back soon!

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Thou Shalt Never Forget

27 May, 2015   | by:

Disclaimer: Although the issue of memory in a digital society is a very cutting-edge topic, this report can be rather confusing for anyone who hasn’t been thinking about remembering and forgetting in the digital age for as long as I have, I apologize for that. For more insight on the ideas behind this workshop and the project run by the Research Center for Information Law (FIR-HSG) at the University of St.Gallen, Switzerland please take a look at our Wiki.

Last month, I organized and attended the concluding workshop for our (my professors’ and my) project called “Remembering and Forgetting in the Digital Age“. We invited renown scholars from all over the world who in one way or the other deal with memory in the digital age and we were very happy to host guests such Urs GasserViktor Mayer-SchönbergerMichael ArnoldWesley Shumar and many more. More…

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Things that caught our eye

Of prostitutes, former presidents for motorsports (FIA) and forgetting in the internet

21 May, 2015   | by:

Max Mosley is is the former president of the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) and has been fighting Google for a couple of years now. He has been trying to sue Google for displaying unfortunate pictures of himself at – let’s call it –  a”sex party”. According to Anya Proops, on Panopticon, the question Mosley brought to court against Google

“is an important issue for those data subjects who garner significant public attention within the online environment, as was the case with Mr Mosley. The difficulty for such individuals is that online stories or comments about them can proliferate on the internet at such a rate that they cannot practicably achieve the online amnesia they crave.”

On the other hand, public figures like Mosley will always be in the spotlight and of public interest which is why they probably should refrain from taking part in orgies or alike, just saying…

Just last year, a court in Hamburg decided that Google was no longer allowed to display these unflattering and possibly damaging (to Mosley’s reputation) photos. And last week, Mosley finally settled with Google and everyone is hoping that this is the last we hear about Mosley v Google. It is definitely not the last time we will be discussing the European “Right to be Forgotten”!



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“YouNow” – Kids enjoy it but it could turn out to be Every Parent’s Nightmare!

20 Feb, 2015   | by:

YouNow is a website that went live in the US in 2011 and just came to Switzerland and the rest of the German-speaking world in 2014. It allows its users to broadcast themselves online via their webcam wherever they are and whenever they want. More…

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The Right to Remember: On the WP29’s Opinion concerning the Right to Be Forgotten Ruling & the Balancing of the Freedom of Expression

10 Dec, 2014   | by:

Two weeks ago the Article 29 Working Party (WP29) issued Guidelines on the Implementation of Google Spain judgment.

Let’s have a look at how often the WP29 elaborates on the delicate balance between oblivion, erasure or forgetting and the individuals’ right to freedom of expression. More…

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Things that caught our eye

Why can’t just forget too?

12 Nov, 2014   | by:

In his open letter to Google John M. Simpson, Privacy Project Director of Consumer Watchdog, is asking them to implement the EU’s “Right to be Forgotten” for US users on a voluntary basis too. His main argument why should do so, is that removals of links are not automated. Google has to strike a balance between the interests involved and seems to be doing so quite successfully, as Simpson states:

“I was heartened to see – based on Google’s own numbers – that you appear able to strike this balance in Europe and it does not appear to be an undue burden on your resources.”
The numbers seem pretty promising. So far, Google has received approx. 150’000 removal requests since the CJEU’s decision in May 2014 and has removed approx. 48% of the links in question, keeping the rest online. Thus, Simpson argues in his letter that striking a balance between the respective interests has proven to be easy enough for Google so why not provide the same “service” for US users.
Interesting enough there seems to be a slow movement going on in the US towards more privacy on the Internet. Let’s see if Europe and the US can find common grounds in the near future. Here’s the letter for further reading.

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Things that caught our eye

EU Data Protection Supervisor: Internet of Things without thought given to privacy is “a disaster happening in slow motion.”

27 Oct, 2014   | by:

The European Data Protection Supervisor (EUDPS), who “is an independent supervisory authority devoted to protecting personal data and privacy and promoting good practice in the EU institutions and bodies”, recently gave a speech in Mauritius on account of the 36th International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners . In his speech (PDF), the EUDPS Peter Hustinx, dealt with the difficulties of enforcing privacy laws which are restricted to territorial borders in a world of “borderless Internet technology”.

Two of the examples he gave of  problems in this area I would like to highlight here. In relation to the Internet of Things (IoT) he mentioned:

“[W]e have heard at this conference that very few objects or devices for the future IoT are being devised with serious attention for privacy implications. Therefore, boxes with diverse gadgets, just being sent off to other parts of the world, without any thought given or information provided on privacy aspects, are simply a disaster happening in slow motion.”

Futhermore, in relation to the Google Spain Case and the Right To Be Forgotten, on which  Stefan Kulk & Rehana Harasgama here at the iii wrote earlier, the EUDPS also had some comments:

[T]he highly critical and sometimes aggressive reactions to the recent CJEU judgment in the Google Spain case show a disconnect between the assumption that available information can be re-used and the requirement that processing of personal information must always be legitimate and may be subject to rights of erasure or objection by the data subjects.

The remainder of the speech deals with questions on feasibility of privacy in a borderless world, which provides for an interesting status quo of what is done in this area.

Read the full speech here.

Interesting final note. Peter Hustinx, is currently the EU Data Protection Supervisor, but the procedure for appointing his successor is in full swing. Latest development here is that his current assistant, Giovanni Buttarelli, has received the most votes in the Civil Liberties Committee last week, and will therefore be the most likely successor of Mr. Hustinx for the role of EU Data Protection Supervisor.


Image Credit: “Internet of Things” by Wilgengebroed on Flickr – Cropped and sign removed from Internet of things signed by the author.jpg. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons



Putting Oblivion, Erasure and Forgetting into Context

8 Oct, 2014   | by:

Damian George and I recently published an article on the right to be forgotten respectively the right of oblivion and erasure in the Journal of Intellectual Property, Information Technology and Electronic Commerce Law (JIPITEC). In this publication we discuss different cases handled by French, German and Italian courts and attempt to understand how the different legal backgrounds have led to a diverse implementation of the European data protection principles into national legislation.

We draw different insights from our comparative case law analysis and would like to share some of them here. More…

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The value of your personal data in a panoptic society

7 Oct, 2014   | by:

As the usage of Apps and other web-based services grows on a daily basis, using data as a currency has been the talk of the town – or more the globe. According to IBM which was quoted in an article written in 2013 by three consultants working for Deloitte: “Ninety percent of the data in the world today was created in the last two years” and Between now and 2020, the global volume of digital data is expected to multiply another 40 times or more”. More…

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