Over a hundred organizations are responsible for shaping the future of data privacy. In this new series we’ll profile some of the organizations that are helping to shape the massive privacy ecosystem through the eyes of the professionals that work there and learn more about their perspectives on privacy.
How have your organization’s goals/focus changed over the years to address evolving technologies or challenges?
CDT’s overall goals have not fundamentally changed over the years. Instead, we’re actually closer to our founding values, which – at their core – have a profound respect for the individual, their personal experience online and their right to speak freely.
New technology emerges every day, and we’re applying the same lens of respecting individual’s dignity to this technology – from drones and audio beacons to the myriad of ways that the Internet of Things (or the Internet of Everything) both makes decisions about individuals and helps to make life more full and efficient.
I think that CDT has evolved in its desire to speak to all members of the community –governments, companies, and individuals – to bring them to the table to discuss respecting human rights online. If anything, CDT’s focus has grown to be more global: we realize that when change to legislation is made in one country, it will have a global ripple effect; we understand the Internet to be global and that global policy must be applied to it; and we believe that the Internet is the greatest loudspeaker ever created.
What is the biggest threat to consumers?
The biggest threat to consumers is the opaque collection of data, by which I mean the little bits of data you give out every second of your life and don’t realize.
It’s not the transmission of data – like when you do a Google search or when you’re on Facebook – because you know what data you’re inputting. It’s the data that’s extraneous to the transaction, which includes data that’s collected when you walk down the street or into a store.
The ability to collect granular data about you inside of your own home is a relatively new phenomenon and it stymies notions of your curtilage, your physical boundary around your home. What’s concerning about this data, not only how it’s collected or used by companies you may or may not know, is that decisions are made about you as a result of this data, and you may not be aware whether these decisions are fair, accurate, lasting, or could change how you access services, credit or information.
So it’s not just the data that concerns me but it’s these decisions that may not be at all transparent or apparent to the individual, and they have less control or power in its collection and use.