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The Discourse Of Control And Consent Over Data In EU Data Protection Law And Beyond

by Elettra Biettivia Aegis Paper Series
Friday, January 10, 2020

Across the United States and Europe, the act of clicking “I have read and agree” to terms of service is the central legitimating device for global tech platforms’ data-driven activities. In the European Union, the General Data Protection Regulation has recently come into force, introducing stringent new criteria for consent and stronger protections for individuals. 

The Discourse of Control and Consent over Data in EU Data Protection Law and Beyond

by Elettra Biettivia Aegis Paper Series
Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Across the United States and Europe, the act of clicking “I have read and agree” to terms of service is the central legitimating device for global tech platforms’ data-driven activities. In the European Union, the General Data Protection Regulation has recently come into force, introducing stringent new criteria for consent and stronger protections for individuals. Yet the entrenched long-term focus on users’ control and consent fails to protect consumers who face increasingly intrusive data collection practices.   

Roles And Responsibilities Of Information Intermediaries

by Wolfgang Schulzvia Aegis Paper Series
Thursday, November 14, 2019

While many countries have initially opted to give online platforms a “safe harbor,” for speech, we are now witnessing trends to weaken that protection. In Europe, this includes the creation of regulatory regimes that aim at reducing misinformation and that specifically address the role of social media platforms and other information intermediaries. Regulatory attempts such as the German Network Enforcement Act (NetzDG) can serve as an example. The paper analyzes those approaches from a human-rights perspective and argues that the platforms’ ability to assess the context of content plays a major role in determining whether “new school regulation” sets proportional limits to freedom of speech.

Roles and Responsibilities of Information Intermediaries: Fighting Misinformation as a Test Case for a Human Rights–Respecting Governance of Social Media Platforms

by Wolfgang Schulzvia Aegis Paper Series
Thursday, November 14, 2019

While many countries have initially opted to give online platforms a “safe harbor,” for speech, we are now witnessing trends to weaken that protection.

Verified Accountability

by Evelyn Douekvia Aegis Paper Series
Tuesday, September 17, 2019

The way platforms currently conduct content moderation has been delegitimized, and new forms of governance will need to emerge to meet the demands of the moment. Semi-independent and transparent self-regulatory oversight mechanisms offer significant advantages. As the actors closest to the front line, platforms will always need to play a significant role in drawing lines for online speech, given the high-volume, fast-moving and context-dependent nature of the decisions involved.

Who Do You Sue?

by Daphne Kellervia Aegis Paper Series
Tuesday, January 29, 2019

This essay closely examines the effect on free-expression rights when platforms such as Facebook or YouTube silence their users’ speech. The first part describes the often messy blend of government and private power behind many content removals, and discusses how the combination undermines users’ rights to challenge state action. The second part explores the legal minefield for users—or potentially, legislators—claiming a right to speak on major platforms. The essay contends that questions of state and private power are deeply intertwined. To understand and protect internet users’ rights, we must understand and engage with both.

The Important, Justifiable, And Constrained Role Of Nationality In Foreign Intelligence Surveillance

by Peter Swire, Jesse Woo, Deven R. Desaivia Aegis Paper Series
Tuesday, January 8, 2019

This article addresses whether governments ever have a justified basis for treating targets of surveillance differently, in any way, based on nationality. Topics include (1) three ways nationality can matter to surveillance; (2) reasons for stricter rules for law enforcement and domestic collection; (3) reasons for different rules based on the location of collection; (4) the universalist critique of surveillance laws based on nationality; and (5) reasons that can justify stricter surveillance rules based on nationality. Stricter protections are warranted because surveillance of nationals and others with a close connection to the domestic policy poses a special threat to the political opposition and free press of a country, both of which play crucial roles in limiting abuses of state power.

Flat Light

by Andrew Burt, Daniel E. Geer, Jr.via Aegis Paper Series
Tuesday, November 20, 2018

The world of information security has always had reference points – or ground truths – that, like physical features in a landscape, served as navigational features for practitioners and policymakers alike. As time has passed and the state of information security has become more uncertain, these features have eroded. As reference points, they are now either unhelpful (at best) or disinformative (at worst). A deep state of disorientation is now upon us - in privacy, in security, and beyond. This paper explains how we arrived at this point, and suggests what to do next.

2018 And Beyond

by John P. Carlin, David A. Newmanvia Aegis Paper Series
Monday, November 12, 2018

Despite the assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 election and will continue this type of activity in the future, there has been little national action. This paper contends that the inaction partially stems from political and bureaucratic obstacles to preparing a US response to any future interference—including obstacles to overcoming public apathy, the concern that any measures taken might favor one political party, and federalism questions that arise whenever the federal government considers proposals affecting state election conduct. 

Fixing Social Media’s Grand Bargain

by Jack M. Balkinvia Aegis Paper Series
Monday, October 15, 2018

To regulate social media, we should focus on its political economy: the nature of digital capitalism and how we pay for the digital public sphere. This political economy creates perverse incentives for social media companies—encouraging them to surveil, addict, and manipulate their end users and strike deals with third parties who will further manipulate them. Treating social media companies as public forums or public utilities is not the proper cure, but social media companies, whether they like it or not, do have public obligations. This essay focuses on one approach to dealing with the problems of social media: new fiduciary obligations that protect end user privacy and counteract social media companies’ bad incentives.

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Aegis explores legal and policy issues at the intersection of technology and national security.  Published in partnership with the Lawfare Blog, it features long-form essays of the Hoover Institution National Security, Technology and Law Working Group (the Aegis Paper Series), examines major new books in the field, and carries podcasts and videos or the working group’s events in Washington and Stanford.