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

Tag Archives: surveillance

Discussions of harms at Madrid “big data in Global South” discussion

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I hope to write more about the insightful discussions at the workshop convened by LIRNEasia and CIS. For now, here are the slides I used to frame the discussion on Harms from Surveillance, (In)security, and impacts upon Privacy and Competition. Image source.

Backing off from the grand smart city solutions

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In our article published last year on big data for urban development in the developing world, we said At one extreme of smart-city initiatives lies the vision of a centrally coordinated city resting on pervasive use of specialized sensors (e.g., one under each parking space; multiple sensors at intersections), real-time or non-real-time analysis of the […]

How meatspace is becoming more like cyberspace

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In cyberpunk novels, the world of face-to-face interactions is called meatspace. Everyone knows what cyberspace is. The doyen of cyberpunk William Gibson invented the term. Surveillance is built into cyberspace. In the case of consumption activities, surveillance allows the marketer to “know” what the prospective customer wants and to shape her desires through targeted and […]

Significant ruling on whether US govt can access telecom metadata

The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld what is known as the third-party doctrine: a legal theory suggesting that consumers who knowingly and willingly surrender information to third parties therefore have “no reasonable expectation of privacy” in that information — regardless of how much information there is, or how revealing it is. Research clearly shows […]

Hype and fear as integral components of policy debate

I was recently asked to justify my claim that the big data debate should not be reduced to a “competition of imaginations” between hype and pessimism. The future is unknowable, so we have little alternative but to use our imaginations to discuss the future. We can extrapolate from what is known which is better than […]

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 […]

Thoughts on power dynamics in smart cities

Technology, especially measuring and monitoring technology, does not exist in a power vacuum. As we struggle with getting our hands on data and finding the best ways of extracting insights, we should also give some thought to power dynamics. Reading this may get the process started. Life in a smart city is a frictionless; free […]

Metadata is still fair game in the US

A recent case gave hope to those who wanted the n=all collection of telephone transaction-generated data to cease. But only court that can overrule Smith v Maryland is the Supreme Court. Now a FISA court has explicitly declined to follow Judge Leon. So n=all continues. A telephone company asked the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in […]

Post-Snowden, location matters in cloud decisions

In our contribution to the 2013 UNCTAD Information Economy Report, we talked about the likely importance of place in cloud services purchasing decisions: The storage of data in multiple, usually foreign, jurisdictions raises a different set of regulatory issues including data protection and police investigatory powers. The jurisdictional issues are anchored on the location of […]

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 […]

Why is India the biggest user of VPNs?

The mass surveillance apparatus promised by the Government of India has yet to kick in, but according to a survey (the method is not fully reported, so we cannot vouch for veracity), Indians are already taking precautions. Asia accounts for four of the world’s top five VPN-using countries, although Indian netizens are more likely to […]

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 […]

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