May 2, 2014

SPYING: Obama panel supports warrant requirement for e-mail, cloud content.

The proposal seems a bit vague to me. And there are critics:

Kevin Bankston, the Policy Director at New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute, praised the White House report for recommending ECPA reform and urged legislative action. “Especially now that the White House has joined the chorus of voices calling for strong electronic privacy reform, it’s time for Congress to quit stalling and move forward on legislation to ensure that the police can’t secretly grab your private emails without probable cause,” he said in a press release.

But Bankston also questioned if the report’s timing may have been aimed at deflecting pressure from the ongoing debate about National Security Agency surveillance practices. Although he called the report a “helpful addition” to the larger consumer privacy debate, Bankston wondered if producing the report “was really the best way for the White House’s top tech policy minds to be spending the last three months” or “ultimately a distraction” from reforming the National Security Agency’s massive surveillance program.

I’m going with “distraction,” I think. Related: Apple, Facebook, others defy authorities, notify users of secret data demands. “Post-Snowden, there is a greater desire to compete on privacy.”

UPDATE: White House Data Report: 68 Pages But No Mention Of Spying. “It’s a generally balanced report that, curiously, doesn’t include any real reference to the large-scale domestic spying carried out by the National Security Agency — one of the biggest and most-impressive big data projects around.”

Meanwhile, you can compare the White House report with my proposals. I didn’t take 68 pages, and I did mention spying.