The European Union’s “General Data Protection Regulation,” or GDPR, went into effect at the end of May, to great international fanfare. At long last, a multilateral organization was seriously taking on the challenge of protecting privacy in the digital age. The patchwork quilt of national laws, ranging from aggressive privacy protection to nothing at all, has been predictably ineffective in the multi-jurisdiction online world. While regulation always comes with risks, it has become clear in recent years that cyberspace demands public measures to keep users safe and corporations accountable.
I spoke on politics and human rights at an important forum in New York last May, and my fellow speakers included many current and former politicians and academics there to talk about everything from North Korea to press freedom to cybersecurity. Former US Congressman Mike Rogers was one of them, and he gave a polished presentation about many of the risks we are facing today in the digital sphere, both for personal and national security. As the former Chair of the House Intelligence Committee, he was faced with these urgent concerns on a daily basis. (Unfortunately, the Committee has now become a political battleground, a very dangerous situation because security shouldn’t be a partisan issue.)
The Cambridge Analytica/Facebook scandal that has captured the media spotlight in recent weeks is a reminder that online security threats are amplified by the ever-expanding reach and power of the digital world. They may seem abstract and less urgent t…
The example on everyone’s minds is, of course, Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, now further confirmed by special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. The Kremlin’s use of social media to stoke existing partisan tensions in the U.S., achieved through a sophisticated multi-million-dollar operation, resulted in the indictment in February of thirteen Russian nationals and three companies.
As we enter 2018, I encourage everyone to include a simple resolution on their list: make sure you are well-informed about the technology you use, and avoid getting swept up in false narratives and exaggerated claims about its dangers. Let me be clear: there are genuine threats, but they don’t come from the technology itself. As I always say, technology is agnostic. The dangers come from the bad actors that are willing to use any tool at their disposal, including those in cyberspace, to do harm. Our real target should be combating these forces, not demonizing this or that latest technological development. Education about the realities of our digital world is the best antidote against misplaced fears. And, conveniently, it is also the best way to inoculate ourselves against the security issues that technology does indeed pose.
When a question confuses her, she squints slightly, a dimple creasing between her eyebrows. Mostly, though, she smiles politely and blinks. Today she wears a black short-sleeve shirt, revealing—just above the top button—a camera lens with a red glow. This is Sophia.
In September, Apple launched its newest round of iPhones—the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, with the iPhone X shipping in November—in what has become a familiar spectacle. In many ways, each launch is a snapshot of the technological developments that have recently come to the fore. Not necessarily new technology, exactly, but tech that will suddenly become very widespread and move beyond its creators’ intent, like a new species of creature created in a laboratory being released into the wild. As such, these markers provide a glimpse into the opportunities and challenges these advances present for society, not just the individual consumers.
Keynote Speech: 15:40 – 16:10 BSTLocation: IP Expo Europe, Main Keynote Stage
In my previous blog posts, I have often argued that the internet brings latent conflicts to the fore, whether we are discussing fake news, government surveillance, nation-state cybersecurity or hate speech. Now, I’d like to make the case that it also works the other way, as we witness the opposite happen such as in Charlottesville, where white supremacist groups marched with lit torches. Tensions that have long been simmering online have now moved into the realm of face-to-face interaction, where they have exploded with fresh force. Difficult chapters of America’s history have resurfaced; viewpoints we would like to think have been eradicated are still very much alive. The episodes in Charlottesville were painful to watch, absolutely, but perhaps it is better to have these elements of society exposed. If they remain outside of the public’s awareness, we can continue to collectively deny their existence. If they are brought to the surface, we must confront them and react, hopefully in a way that aligns with our guiding principles.
A new law passed in Germany in June requires social media companies to delete content that qualifies as hate speech within 24 hours, or face fines starting at $5 million and reaching $57 million. The law and the controversy in which it quickly be…