Category Archives: Marty Abrams

Alexa, Observation and Practical Solutions

Sitting in our family room is a little disk that answers to Alexa that joined us on Christmas day.  She (it?) sits there quietly asleep until someone calls her name.  Then she wakes up and does our bidding.  It is typically mundane things such as turning on the lights or finding music.  One might argue… Continue Reading

IAF Policy Call on Research as a Legal Basis to Process

Thinking with data, the discovery of new insights through the processing of large diverse data sets, has already become a driver of innovation. One of the truly remarkable outcomes of the European Data Protection Regulation, is a liberalization of data for research. Is research essentially a new “legal basis” to process data? Viktor Mayer-Schonberger and… Continue Reading

Observation, Values, Effective Data Protection and Digital Accountability

We are in the midst of an explosion in the generation of observational data that feeds artificial intelligence, big data, and the operation of the ever expanding Internet of Things. In 2007, when I began working on big data, the pundits claimed we would have a doubling of data created reaching 5 Exabytes per year.… Continue Reading

Big Data Ecosystem, Fairness and Enforcement

Big data has become an increasingly scary phrase for all stakeholders in data protection. For privacy advocates, it often means loss of control, asymmetrical power and hidden discrimination. For regulators, it often means regulatory round pegs in operational holes of different sizes, in constantly moving locations, with mismatches that begin with vocabulary. For companies, it… Continue Reading

IAF Participates in OPC of Canada Stakeholder Meeting

On 6 October, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC) convened a stakeholder meeting in Halifax, Nova Scotia, for a discussion that included OPC’s strategic privacy priorities for the next five years. In particular, the meeting was part of a dialog on consent and privacy that the OPC launched with the publication of… Continue Reading

Accountability in an Observational, Analytics-Driven Digital Economy

Since a multi-stakeholder group first defined them in 2009, the essential elements of accountability have become well established in the field of data protection. These elements are reflected in guidance from data protection and privacy authorities in Canada, Hong Kong, Australia, Colombia and France. They have been adopted as key elements in the European General… Continue Reading

Autonomy and Fair Processing: Proportioning the Governance

The free flow of data to facilitate individual, business and societal needs as well as to facilitate the protection of individuals to whom the data pertains has always required proportionality. That proportionality is demonstrated in privacy law that protects both individual autonomy and fair processing. The constant evolution of information and communications technologies further emphasises… Continue Reading

Look North

Canada, from a data protection perspective, has often been the bridge between U.S. harms-based approaches to privacy and European rights-based approaches to data protection. Canada is again showing its leadership, and this time has done so in the discussion and consultation paper released by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner on 11 May  2016. The title… Continue Reading

Data Protection is About Right and Wrong

“Ethics has no place in data protection,” an audience member stated during a side event held at the 37th International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners (“International Conference”). Although the conference ended last week, I have been mulling over this statement ever since. When I and other privacy professionals began the Global Accountability Dialogue in… Continue Reading