Archive for the ‘Data’ Category

New Irish Warrant Case Decision – Again – Points to Need for Congressional Action to Update ECPA

posted by in Data January 27, 2017

The importance of this week’s decision by the Second Circuit to deny rehearing in Microsoft’s Irish warrant case has less to do with the action in court and more to do with what happens next. Specifically, with what happens in Congress.

Last July, a panel of the Second Circuit held that a warrant issued by US law enforcement under the Stored Communications Act (SCA) does not have extraterritorial application. As Judge Carney notes in her concurrence with this week’s order: “[I]n many ways the SCA has been left behind by technology. It is overdue for a congressional revision that would continue to protect privacy but would more effectively balance concerns of international comity with law enforcement needs and service provider obligations in the global context in which this case arose.”

Laws regarding privacy and law enforcement have always struggled to strike a tricky balance: they must ensure that personal data receives the greatest protection possible while enabling investigators to do their job of keeping the public safe.

Unfortunately, in the digital world, the three decades-old Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), which is part of the SCA, does neither effectively.

This is understandable. Remember, when ECPA was enacted more than 30 years ago, our use of technology and cloud computing was dramatically different. Today, we store nearly all of our information in the cloud – emails, pictures, documents, health and financial records – and we expect to be able to access it whenever and wherever we are. Thirty years ago, we did not have the web of globally connected data centers and the software to move our data seamlessly around the world.

Software companies and civil liberties groups have urged Congress for years to update ECPA. The updates that passed the House of Representatives unanimously and had bipartisan sponsors in the Senate last Congress would make much-needed changes to enhance privacy protections that we have long championed. This week’s Second Circuit opinion is an important reminder that Congress must also focus on creating an international framework for accessing data – an issue that has also already received bipartisan, bicameral leadership in Congress.

As judges on the Second Circuit have said repeatedly since oral arguments in the case back in September 2015: the best next step is “congressional action to revise a badly outdated statute.” Our digital privacy laws need an update to protect both our privacy and security.

An Open Letter to Congress: Software Industry’s Priorities Create Jobs

posted by in Data, Industry, Intellectual Property January 12, 2017

Dear 115th Congress,

Congratulations on your election to office – we look forward to working with you. Job creation will undoubtedly be a top priority on your list in the coming year, and it’s a top priority for our industry. As our recent economic impact report shows (done in collaboration with the Economist Intelligence Unit) the software industry contributes more than $1 trillion to the US GDP, nearly 10 million jobs, and $52 billion in R&D, with significant effects in each of the 50 states. As you begin your work, we’d like to draw your attention to software industry priorities that directly impact jobs in the US.

It’s predicted that by 2020, the number of new computing jobs in the US will rise to 1.4 million, but we’ll have just 400,000 computer science students with the skills to apply for them. Congress can and must make investments in STEM education. With the proper training, thousands more Americans will be prepared to take those great-paying jobs.

To help increase jobs in the US, Congress can maintain a firm stance on international data policy. Companies of all sizes across all industries rely on the ability to transfer data around the world to provide essential services. Recently, other governments have pushed to keep data within the confines of their borders. This would have serious effects on the ability of businesses in the US to offer services abroad, and thus threaten American jobs. Congress can help businesses in all 50 states grow by supporting a strong data policy agenda.

The software industry also hopes to see Congress work on polices to properly protect intellectual property. These policies will in turn foster jobs because they encourage the research and development that drives innovation. Patent reform can reduce frivolous litigation and free up resources for greater investment. Congress should look to enable the jobs of the future as software continues to develop a range of cutting-edge technologies that greatly improve lives and help solve intractable problems.

Software is and will continue to be a major driver of jobs in the US. We stand ready to support you in improving the lives of our citizens and the economic future of our country.

Sincerely,

The Software Industry c/o BSA | The Software Alliance

It’s Time to Move the Encryption Discussion Forward

posted by in Cybersecurity, Data, Privacy November 15, 2016

Encryption Principles Art
The encryption discussion in Washington has been locked in a polarized stalemate for months — with loud voices on distant ends deeply dug in.

Encryption is a complex issue that affects a range of global stakeholders, from governments to businesses to individuals. The ideal solution needs to consider all legitimate sides of the argument and can only be achieved through open dialogue. It is time for this stalemate to end.

To move the conversation forward, BSA | The Software Alliance has developed a set of Encryption Principles, to be used by governments around the world to evaluate proposals on encryption in a balanced way. These principles frame a comprehensive approach to address the important needs of global cybersecurity, public safety, and personal privacy and prosperity.
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Privacy Shield Attracts Strong Company Support

posted by in Data, Privacy August 1, 2016

BSA President & CEO Victoria Espinel penned the op-ed below that ran earlier today in The Hill. As she notes, today is the first day that companies can certify with the Commerce Department for the Privacy Shield.

Why are data transfers across the Atlantic so important? Cloud computing services and data analytics increasingly depend on the ability to move data across borders. And these services dramatically improve the efficiency and competitiveness of businesses large and small. They also improve our cybersecurity defenses. If data has to stop at national borders, the benefits of cloud computing will be greatly reduced, and the economies on both sides of the Atlantic will suffer as a result.

BSA thanks the US Department of Commerce and the European Commission for their hard work and successful completion of the Privacy Shield.

Privacy Shield Attracts Strong Company Support

August 1 marks the beginning of a more stable and secure era for trans-Atlantic data transfers. That’s the day Privacy Shield, a new agreement between the United States and the European Union, takes effect. And it’s off to a good start, with a number of major companies already announcing that they will join, and many others favorably considering participation in the new framework.
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Encryption: Securing Our Data, Securing Our Lives

posted by in Cybersecurity, Data June 1, 2016

Encryption impacts our daily lives from the moment we get up in the morning to the moment we fall asleep. When we log into work from home, use a credit card to pay for lunch, or just text a friend, encryption is keeping our data secure. Encryption is also keeping us safe by protecting critical infrastructure and the information that moves across national security networks.

There is an important debate going on around the country — and around the world — about the importance of strong cybersecurity, which relies on encryption, and the legitimate needs of law enforcement to access encrypted data. The conversation has, at times, been heated. When discussions get heated, facts often get left behind.

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Is It Time to Pop the Champagne for ECPA?

posted by in Cybersecurity, Data, Privacy April 26, 2016

It generally isn’t a good idea to celebrate before a vote in Congress. But it also isn’t generally the case that the House is voting on a measure that is sponsored by nearly three-quarters of its Members. That is the situation this week, with a vote coming on the Email Privacy Act — a bill sponsored by a staggering 314 Representatives.

And those circumstances are why this time perhaps it’s worth celebrating — just a bit — this big step for privacy even before votes are cast.
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More Effort Needed to Pave Way for Cloud Computing Benefits

posted by in Cloud Computing, Data, Industry April 26, 2016

Much has been written about the benefits of cloud computing. It’s providing consumers, businesses, and governments quick, efficient and affordable access to technology that was previously available only to large organizations. And that access is rapidly expanding opportunities in established markets and emerging economies alike.

Less attention has been paid, however, to what cloud providers need to ensure those consumers, businesses and governments can access the cloud: the right mix of national laws and regulations.

Focusing attention on that element the cloud is the purpose of a new study from BSA | The Software Alliance. That study, the 2016 Global Cloud Computing Scorecard, reveals that while many countries have made healthy improvements in their policy environments in recent years, a patchwork of inadequate laws and regulations around the globe threatens to stunt the unprecedented societal benefits and economic growth fueled by cloud computing.

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Progress in Building Trust in Trans-Atlantic Data Flows

posted by in Data, Global Markets, Privacy February 11, 2016

Last night, the US House passed the Senate-amended version of the Judicial Redress Act, now headed to President Obama for signature. Progress on this front matters. This needed legislation will form a critical part of a stable and trustworthy structure for free flow of data across borders – so essential for economic growth in our digital economy.

Following last week’s agreement between the United States and European Union on the Privacy Shield, a successor to the Safe Harbor Framework as a mechanism for protecting the flow of personal information in the commercial context, enactment of the Judicial Redress Act will further harmonize US and European privacy protections as well.

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Software and Data Helping Overhaul Conservation

posted by in Data, Industry November 18, 2015

Today, I gave the keynote address at the World Wildlife Fund’s 2015 Fuller Symposium. This year’s theme, “Wired in the Wild,” explores how software is helping address some of the planet’s greatest challenges. Our future successes in conservation, as in many realms, depend upon scientific inquiry, and so many of the scientific history-making breakthroughs we are seeing increasingly rely on software and data.

From complex modeling of ecosystems to 3D modeling that enables more accurate and complete measurement data, software enables us to learn more and do more. The innovative companies that make up BSA | The Software Alliance understand the importance of preserving our environment and natural resources. They are producing software and data that’s bolstering conservation efforts in truly amazing ways. Here are just a few examples I highlighted in my address:

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Seize the Opportunity for a Sustainable Path

posted by in Data, Privacy October 22, 2015

In “The collapse of the US-EU Safe Harbor: Solving the new privacy Rubik’s Cube,” Microsoft’s Brad Smith provides insight on ways to ensure European consumers and enterprises can continue using data services in the manner they chose and from the best providers of such services. In today’s world, it is a well-known policy truism that technology will advance much more quickly than tech-related law and that regulations can hobble both innovation and the economy. While we need to address immediate issues to address the collapse of the Safe Harbor, our future and the policy decisions which shape it require enduring and sustainable solutions.

Today, we have the opportunity to improve citizens’ lives, businesses and governments by creating a long term framework to ensure that privacy is fully respected while permitting new software technology to thrive. These solutions must be global and crafted to better fit the digital world in which we live. A failure to embrace this opportunity is a failure for us all.

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