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Internet law and privacy

Posted by on March 9, 2015.

I would like to thank Kevin Townsend for inviting me to join this group of independent ITsecurity experts.

I take this opportunity to introduce myself. After a career on business and Labor Law in France, I have moved on to new spheres since a Masters on Communication and internet law from Queen Mary University of London.
I have been involved on child online safety. However, I see online safety more a question of education than regulation or censorship.
I believe Internet has tremendous opportunities despite its security issues. I have no expertise on the technical security threats of electronic communications. My expertise is more on the legal side. During my Masters I specifically looked at the way Google and its entities challenged traditional regulation in Commerce, intellectual property and information law.

There is an ongoing debate within lawyers on the nature of the internet law. Should there be a specific sets of international law ruling the Cyberspace, this is what exceptionalists believe against others such as John Barlow, founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, arguing that internet felt comfortably within established regulation. James Grimmelmann opens his book, ‘Internet Law: Cases & Problems’, questioning the opportunity of the Internet law or ‘law of the horses’.
The fact is that some areas of law have been dramatically challenged in the digital era. Copyright in particular based on the limitation to the right to copy has been distorted with the fundamental nature of internet communication consistng on copying in order to transmit.

Governments and legislators have felt the need of over regulating. The fast pace of technology is of no help as many regulators have trouble to catch up with the understanding of the new technologies.
As a matter of fact, the Economy Minister in France calls the iPhone ‘the Thing with the apple’! There is a long way to go.
There is and I am afraid they will long be a constant tension between promoting eCommerce, internet access, censorship and the regulation of the internet.

In any event, There is a wide diversity of approach between the French or German Civil law jurisdictions in Continental Europe and the Common law system of UK, part of the EU and therefore subject to EU regulations, and the US liberal view where the biggest internet companies are based.
This represents a major challenge as privacy is essentially a social norm with different acceptance in differents cultures.

Coming back to my areas of research, I have been thinking of the way companies could actually positively use privacy constraints as a selling asset instead of a burden.
I see great potentials in location based services. Imagine you are in a new location with some spare time. How much would you appreciate having an App on your phone that could tell you what’s going on around your location, pointing you to promotional offers, available hotel rooms, advising itineraries, etc….? We are nearly there. Hence many wise customers are reluctant to use such services uncomfortable to reveal their geolocation by fear of privacy. The lack of transparency and companies selling data to unknown third parties have been a barrier to the real bloom of LBS.

I am one privacy advocate hoping companies will give a consideration to this fear by adopting appropriate measures to require informed consent with choice and transparency with respect of the ten principle of data protection, starting by keeping data no longer than required and for no more than the specific purposes for which they have been granted consent.

Other areas of my interest are Big Data, the Internet of Things and connected objects. Again an area that has so much to offer if privacy compliancy became the rule.

I am planning to further develop on these points.


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Submitted in: Tara Taubman-Barissian | Tags: