All posts in National Security

The Nothing-to-Hide Argument – My Essay’s 10th Anniversary

Daniel Solove
Founder of TeachPrivacy

Privacy Surveillance Nothing to Hide Argument

In response to government surveillance or massive data gathering, many people say that there’s nothing to worry about.  “I’ve got nothing to hide,” they declare.  “The only people who should worry are those who are doing something immoral or illegal.”

Nothing to Hide - SoloveThe nothing-to-hide argument is ubiquitous.  This is why I wrote an essay about it 10 years ago called “I’ve Got Nothing to Hide,” and Other Misunderstandings of Privacy, 44 San Diego Law Review 745 (2007).  It was a short law review piece, one that I thought would be read by only a few people.  But to my surprise, this essay really resonated with many people, and it received an unusually high number of downloads for a law review essay.  I later expanded the ideas in the essay into a book: Nothing to Hide: The False Tradeoff Between Privacy and Security  (Yale University Press 2011).

This year is the 10th anniversary of the piece.  A lot has happened between then and now.  Not too long before I wrote my essay, there were revelations of illegal NSA surveillance.  A significant percentage of the public supported the NSA surveillance, and the nothing-to-hide argument was trotted out again and again.  This was the climate in which I wrote the essay.

Later on, in 2013, Edward Snowden revealed that the NSA was engaging in extensive surveillance far beyond its legal authority.  Snowden declared: “Arguing that you don’t care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don’t care about free speech because you have nothing to say.”  This time, there was a significantly large percentage of the public that didn’t side with the NSA but instead demanded scrutiny and accountability.

Nevertheless, the nothing-to-hide argument is far from vanquished.  There will always be a need for citizens to demand accountability and oversight of government surveillance, or else we will gradually slide into a more dystopian world.

Here are a few short excerpts from my nothing-to-hide essay:

Continue Reading

Ransomware on a Rampage

Daniel Solove
Founder of TeachPrivacy

Ransomware Training 01

Ransomware is on a rampage!  Attacks are happening with ever-increasing frequency, and ransomware is evolving and becoming more powerful.

Several major media sites, such as the New York Times, BBC, AOL, and the NFL, were recently infected with malware that directed visitors to sites attempting to install ransomware on their computers.

Ransomware Malware Training

Ransomware has the potential to attack the Internet of Things.  In one instance, a researcher was able to infect a TV with ransomware.

Ransomware is now attacking smart phones.

Last month, one hospital paid $17,000 in ransom when ransomware attacked its computer system.  The computer network was down for more than a week, and patients had to be transferred to other hospitals.

Continue Reading

Can the FBI Force Apple to Write Software to Weaken Its Software?

Daniel Solove
Founder of TeachPrivacy

Privacy Awareness TrainingA dramatic legal battle is taking place that will have dramatic implications for the future of technology, privacy, security, and the extent of government power.  The FBI obtained an order from a magistrate judge to force Apple to develop software to help the FBI break into an encrypted iPhone.

Continue Reading

A New US-EU Safe Harbor Agreement Has Been Reached

Daniel Solove
Founder of TeachPrivacy

EU-US Privacy Shield Safe Harbor Training

Last year, the death of the US-EU Safe Harbor Arrangement sent waves of shock and despair to the approximately 4500 companies that used this mechanism to transfer personal data from the US to the EU.  But a new day has dawned.

Continue Reading

Can the FBI Force Apple to Write Software to Weaken Its Software?

Daniel Solove
Founder of TeachPrivacy

title image

A dramatic legal battle is taking place that will have dramatic implications for the future of technology, privacy, security, and the extent of government power.  The FBI obtained an order from a magistrate judge to force Apple to develop software to help the FBI break into an encrypted iPhone.

Continue Reading

Privacy Need Not Be Sacrificed for Security

Daniel Solove
Founder of TeachPrivacy

NSA Surveillance

I’ve long been saying that privacy need not be sacrificed for security, and it makes me delighted to see that public attitudes are aligning with this view.  A Pew survey revealed that a “majority of Americans (54%) disapprove of the U.S. government’s collection of telephone and internet data as part of anti-terrorism efforts.”  The anti-NSA surveillance sentiment is even stronger in other countries, as is shown in this chart below.

Pew NSA Surveillance

According to the survey, “74% said they should not give up privacy and freedom for the sake of safety, while just 22% said the opposite.”

As I wrote in my book, Nothing to Hide: The False Tradeoff Between Privacy and Security (Yale U. Press 2011):

The debate between privacy and security has been framed incorrectly, with the tradeoff between these values understood as an all-or-nothing proposition. But protecting privacy need not be fatal to security measures; it merely demands oversight and regulation.

Continue Reading

The Kafkaesque Sacrifice of Encryption Security in the Name of Security

Daniel Solove
Founder of TeachPrivacy

The Kafkaesque Sacrifice of Encryption Security in the Name of Security

By Daniel J. Solove

Proponents for allowing government officials to have backdoors to encrypted communications need to read Franz Kafka.  Nearly a century ago, Kafka deftly captured the irony at the heart of their argument in his short story, “The Burrow.”

After the Paris attacks, national security proponents in the US and abroad have been making even more vigorous attempts to mandate a backdoor to encryption.

Continue Reading

Alan Westin’s Privacy and Freedom

Daniel Solove
Founder of TeachPrivacy

Alan Westin Privacy and Freedom

Alan Westin Privacy and FreedomI am pleased to announce that Alan Westin’s classic work, Privacy and Freedom, is now back in print.  Originally published in 1967, Privacy and Freedom had an enormous influence in shaping the discourse on privacy in the 1970s and beyond, when the Fair Information Practice Principles (FIPPs) were developed.

The book contains a short introduction by me.  I am truly honored to be introducing such a great and important work.  When I began researching and writing about privacy in the late 1990s, I kept coming across citations to Westin’s book, and I was surprised that it was no longer in print.  I tracked down a used copy, which wasn’t as easy to do as today.  What impressed me most about the book was that it explored the meaning and value of privacy in a rich and interdisciplinary way.

A very brief excerpt from my intro:

At the core of the book is one of the most enduring discussions of the definition and value of privacy. Privacy is a very complex concept, and scholars and others have struggled for centuries to define it and articulate its value. Privacy and Freedom contains one of the most sophisticated, interdisciplinary, and insightful discussions of privacy ever written. Westin weaves together philosophy, sociology, psychology, and other disciplines to explain what privacy is and why we should protect it.

Alan WestinI was fortunate to get to know Alan Westin, as I began my teaching career at Seton Hall Law School in Newark, New Jersey, and Alan lived and worked nearby.  I had several lunches with him, and we continued our friendship when I left to teach at George Washington University Law School.  Alan was kind, generous, and very thoughtful. He was passionate about ideas.  I miss him greatly.

So it is a true joy to see his book live on in print once again.

Here’s the blurb from the publisher:

Continue Reading

Sunken Safe Harbor: 5 Implications of Schrems and US-EU Data Transfer

Daniel Solove
Founder of TeachPrivacy

sunken safe harbor

By Daniel J. Solove

In a profound ruling with enormous implications,the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has declared the Safe Harbor Arrangement to be invalid.

[Press Release]  [Opinion]

The Safe Harbor Arrangement

The Safe Harbor Arrangement has been in place since 2000, and it is a central means by which data about EU citizens can be transferred to companies in the US.  Under the EU Data Protection Directive, data can only be transferred to countries with an “adequate level of protection” of personal data.  The EU has not deemed the US to provide an adequate level of protection, so Safe Harbor was created as a work around.

Continue Reading

6 Great Films About Privacy and Security

Daniel Solove
Founder of TeachPrivacy

title image

By Daniel Solove

I previously shared 5 of my favorite novels about privacy and security, and I’d now like to share 6 of my favorite films about these topics — because I just couldn’t whittle the list down to 5.

I was thinking about my favorite films because I’ve been putting together a session at my Privacy+Security Forum event next month — the “Privacy and Security Film and TV Club” — where a group of experts will share their favorite films and TV series that have privacy and security themes.

Without further ado, here are my film choices:

Continue Reading

Big Brother on the Cover: 50+ Covers for George Orwell’s 1984

Daniel Solove
Founder of TeachPrivacy

Privacy Training Blog Big Brother Is Watching You Poster

by Daniel J. Solove

Privacy Training Blog George Orwell

George Orwell

One of the most well-known classic privacy books is George Orwell’s 1984, and it has been published in countless editions around the world.  I enjoy collecting things, and I’ve gathered up more than 50 book covers of various editions of the novel.  I find it interesting how various artists and designers try to capture the novel’s themes.  I thought I’d share the covers with you.

Orwell’s 1984 chronicles a harrowing totalitarian society, one that engages in massive surveillance of its citizenry.  Everywhere are posters that say “NSA Big Brother Is Watching You.”   From the novel:

Continue Reading

More Fun with the Airline Screening Playset: Body Imaging X-Ray Edition!

Daniel Solove
Founder of TeachPrivacy

Airline Screening Playset Playmobil Set 01

I’ve been following the recent controversy over the TSA’s body imaging X-ray machines, otherwise known as the “backscatter” or “exhibit-yourself-in-the-nude” devices.  It made me reminisce about an old post I wrote about the Playmobil airline screening playset.

Airline Screening Playset Playmobil Box 01

I had not used the playset for a while.  Five long years have elapsed since my post, and I had outgrown this toy and moved on to more advanced ones.  But this recent controversy made me regress. . . .

 

Airline Screening Playset Playmobil 03
Airline Screening Playset Playmobil 04 Continue Reading

ACLU vs. NSA: Standing to Challenge NSA Warrantless Wiretapping

Daniel Solove
Founder of TeachPrivacy

In ACLU v. NSA, –F.3d — (6th Cir. 2007), a panel from the 6th Circuit held that the ACLU and other plaintiffs lacked standing to challenge the Bush Administration’s warrantless wiretapping program conducted by the National Security Agency (NSA). NYT coverage is here. According to the sketchy details known about the program, the court noted, “it has been publicly acknowledged that the TSP [the Terrorist Surveillance Program, as it has now been named by the Administration] includes the interception (i.e., wiretapping), without warrants, of telephone and email communications, where one party to the communication is located outside the United States and the NSA has ‘a reasonable basis to conclude that one party to the communication is a member of al Qaeda, affiliated with al Qaeda, or a member of an organization affiliated with al Qaeda, or working in support of al Qaeda.”

The plaintiffs are “journalists, academics, and lawyers who regularly communicate with individuals located overseas, who the plaintiffs believe are the types of people the NSA suspects of being al Qaeda terrorists, affiliates, or supporters, and are therefore likely to be monitored under the TSP.” The plaintiffs claimed that the NSA wiretapping violated, among other things, the First Amendment, Fourth Amendment, and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

According to Judge Batchelder’s opinion, the plaintiffs could not establish standing because they could not directly prove that they were subject to surveillance. One of the problems with the court’s reasoning is that there is little way for the plaintiffs to find out more specific information about whether particular plaintiffs’ phone calls have been wiretapped. As a result, the government can violate the plaintiffs’ First and Fourth Amendment rights with impunity if they cannot ever learn enough to gain standing to challenge the surveillance.

Continue Reading

The Airline Screening Playset: Hours of Fun!

Daniel Solove
Founder of TeachPrivacy

Airline Screening Playset Playmobil Box 01After blogging a few weeks ago about the airline screening playset, I went ahead and ordered one.

Each day, I would check my mailbox, eager with excitement about its arrival. Today, it finally arrived. I rushed to open it and began what would be hours of exciting play. Here’s what came in the playset:

Airline Screening Playset Playmobil Set 01

I was a bit disappointed in the toy’s lack of realism. There was only one passenger to be screened. Where were the long lines? The passenger’s clothing wasn’t removable for strip searching. The passenger’s shoes couldn’t be removed either. Her luggage fit easily inside the X-ray machine. There were no silly warning signs not to carry guns or bombs onto the plane. And there was no No Fly List or Selectee List included in the playset.

Airline Screening Playset Playmobil Toy 01

Another oddity was that the toy came with two guns, one for the police officer and one that either belonged to the X-ray screener or the passenger. The luggage actually opened up, and the gun fit inside. I put it through the X-ray machine, and it went through undetected. Perhaps this is where the toy came closest to reality.

The biggest departure from reality was that the passenger had a cheery smile on her face.

Airline Screening Playset Playmobil Toy 02

Continue Reading