Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Rachovitsa: Engineering and lawyering privacy by design

Adamantia Rachovitsa (Univ. of Groningen - Law) has published Engineering and lawyering privacy by design: understanding online privacy both as a technical and an international human rights issue (International Journal of Law and Information Technology, Vol. 24, no. 4, pp. 374-399, Winter 2016). Here's the abstract:
There is already evidence that ‘governmental mass surveillance emerges as a dangerous habit’. Despite the serious interests at stake, we are far from fully comprehending the ramifications of the systematic and pervasive violation of privacy online. This article underscores the reasons that policy-makers and lawyers must comprehend and value privacy not only as a human rights issue, but also as a fundamental technical property for the well-functioning of the Internet. The analysis makes two main arguments. Firstly, it argues that the effective protection of online privacy cannot be thought of only in terms of compliance with legal frameworks but that—in practice—it also needs to be secured through technological means, such as privacy enhancing technologies and, most importantly, Privacy by Design. Recent developments in the standardization work of the Internet Advisory Board and the Internet Engineering Task Force suggest a paradigm shift with respect to integrating Privacy by Design into the core Internet protocols. The consideration of privacy as a requirement in the design of the Internet will have a significant impact on reducing states’ capability to conduct mass surveillance and on protecting the privacy of global end-users. Secondly, the article argues that Internet standards should not be seen as ‘living a parallel life’ to, or as displacing or merely complementing, international human rights law. Technical standards and international law can actively inform one another. The analysis and findings demonstrate how the technical perspective on privacy can inform and enrich policy-making and legal reasoning.