LIRNEasia is a regional ICT policy and regulation think tank active across the Asia Pacific

Tag Archives: privacy

Making a legal discussion on big data relevant to the Global South

I was a little surprised to be invited to a meeting on big data organized by the Institute of Technology and Society of Rio de Janeiro. But then I realized that the event was scheduled back to back with IGF 2015 in Joao Pessoa and that they were basically piggy-backing on the attraction of large […]

It is wrong to try to shoehorn big data into a private property-rights framework

Today I spoke at a session on Big Data for Development: Privacy Risks and Opportunities organized by UN Global Pulse and SIDA at Internet Governance Forum 2015. My presentation that sought to set the stage is here. Many interesting questions were raised, but I will here focus on one particularly uninformed one. The questioners (this […]

Two days debating big data privacy

I spent two challenging days at the first face-to-face meeting of the Privacy Advisory Group of UN Global Pulse in Den Haag. BIt was challenging because it was scheduled adjacent to a privacy commissioners’ conference and because the location was in Europe where privacy protection has been elevated to quasi-religious status. We as researchers are […]

Big Data: Implications for competitiveness, privacy and marginalization

I moderated CPRsouth 10’s opening plenary that looked at the competitiveness, privacy and marginalization issues associated with the emerging field of big data. Attached are the questions that I circulated beforehand to the experts who participated in the discussion. Here is an excerpt. The document also contains several annexes that provide examples and definitions about […]

Big Data for Development: Privacy Risks and Opportunities

I will be participating in this Internet Governance Forum session in Joao Pessoa, Brazil, later this year. The session is organized by UN Global Pulse: In recent years, the potential of big data derived from the Internet and other digital devices to transform targeted advertising, recommender systems, location based services, logistics and other activities in […]

Verizon’s supercookies and the language we proposed for inclusion in draft mobile network big data guidelines

Verizon is in the the news and under the gun for its use of supercookies to track mobile users. The company uses the tracking technology — alphanumerical customer codes known as supercookies — to segment its subscribers into clusters and tailor advertising pitches to them. Although Verizon allows subscribers some choices regarding the use of […]

UN Global Pulse Data Privacy Advisory Group

The specialized unit of the UN dealing with big data for development, UN Global Pulse, has constituted a data privacy advisory group. LIRNEasia’s chair and advisor to the big data for development team, Rohan Samarajiva, is a member. Among the other members are MIT’s Sandy Pentland and Umar Saif, Chair of the Punjab IT Board […]

ITU Telecom World highlights big data for development session

An unexpectedly detailed description of our big data session was included in the Day 3 highlights: Big data is usually in the headlines for the wrong reasons – surveillance, exploitation of personal data for commercial or governmental ends, intrusion of privacy – but can also serve a valid and immensely exciting social purpose for development. […]

Beyond the battle of imaginations: Pragmatic and fact-based approach to big data at ITU Telecom World 2014

Much of what is discussed as “big data” does not include the poor, because smartphone penetration is still low, social media are not used by all classes and datafied records are rare in developing countries. Therefore, the session focused on research that has been/is being done on pseudonymized mobile network big data in developing countries. […]

Is EU approach to privacy the appropriate one for us?

I resisted the notion that we should start our work on guidelines for”big data” from the settled law of other jurisdictions. I did not do that in 1987 when I did one of the earliest policy studies on ICTs and the law in Sri Lanka, and I was not about to start in 2013. I […]

The 80:20 rule in electronic communication surveillance

Last week, LIRNEasia taught a course on broadband policy and regulation in Sohna. One of the modules was on privacy and surveillance. One of the instructors was Sunil Abraham, acknowledged for his thoughtful and creative approach to sticky ICT policy questions. Drawing a diagram, he pointed out that if surveillance was exclusively focused on the […]

In 90 days, a report on “big data” and privacy from the White House

John Podesta is no stranger to privacy issues. I can remember some interactions with him in the context of the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) during the Clinton Presidency. He has now been tasked with producing a big data-privacy report in 90 days. We are undergoing a revolution in the way that information about our […]

Privacy of non-Americans: Is this enough?

President Obama’s first response to the revelations of NSA malfeasance was jarring to many, an unhappiness articulated by Pratap Bhanu Mehta. Now we have Obama’s considered response: Mr. Obama also said he was taking the “unprecedented step” of extending privacy safeguards to non-Americans, including requiring that data collected abroad be deleted after a certain period […]

Placing weight on anonymity versus privacy?

For too long, the field of privacy has been becalmed by religious fealty to a concept propounded by two New England aristocrats who were annoyed by paparazzi taking pictures of a party in a home. The ill-considered explosion set off by the NSA in its zeal to prevent all future acts of terror has opened […]

Predicting political leanings from taste in music

We think about transaction-generated data (TGD) a lot. The essence is that data generated as a by-product of some activity (and which is therefore highly accurate) can tell us more about behavior (even future behavior) than all the questionnaires in the world. Behavior associated with music, closely tied to emotion,seems like an even better candidate […]


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