What obscurity do we reserve for political donors?

After a Congressman recently published a list of max donors to the Trump campaign, even some respected journalists declared he “went too far” in violating the privacy of ordinary citizens. In this post, I do an ethical balancing test and show how their obscurity does not outweigh their accountability.

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Sam Pfeifle
Words matter - even when discussing "regulator priorities"

We’ve been hearing a lot about “regulator priorities” now that the GDPR has turned 1, and for good reason. They’re important for the marketplace. Which is why it’s pretty frustrating when the ICO asks organizations to go “beyond baseline compliance.” What the heck does that mean? Does it really add clarity?

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Sam Pfeifle
How "data ethics" could actually work. In real life.

Is data ethics really the next big thing in tech? If so, it’s a long-time coming. Following news of yet another technology company - remember RealNetworks? - using uploaded consumer data to train facial recognition technology for dubious profit and social benefit, I walk you though what a data ethics assessment might look like and why organizations have little incentive to avoid a data ethics failure.

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Sam Pfeifle
Where are the ethicists?

Privacy, many people say, is about more than just doing what the law says you must do. Rather, privacy is about trust. Privacy is about going beyond compliance. Privacy is about doing doing what’s “right,” even if the law hasn’t caught up with technology yet. Maybe someone could tell that to the people who actually run companies, like Ever, that tell customers one thing and then do another?

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Sam Pfeifle
How to be "visible" at the Global Privacy Summit

People go to the IAPP Global Privacy Summit — all conferences, really — with a variety of goals. This post is for those folks who are headed to Summit and DC trying to MAKE THINGS HAPPEN. Which can be hard when there are effectively 5,000 people in the room. How do you get a little visibility when there is a sea of privacy professionals and you’re not all that big of a fish?

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Sam Pfeifle
Facebook's $3b humble brag of a fine announcement is brilliant comms

It’s a “game-changer.” It’s a “massive win.” It’s where Facebook “finally faces the music.” It’s somehow both a “mere slap on the wrist” and definitely not a slap on the wrist. I don’t know about any of that. What I do know, however, is the slow-play, humble-brag way that Facebook chose to announce that it expects a fine between $3 billion and $5 billion for the Cambridge Analytica scandal and the access to personal data that Facebook allowed is straight-up genius communications strategy.

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Sam Pfeifle
Have a Little Respect for Your Readers

Of all the companies I ever ran into, about 99 percent of them cares almost exactly the same about privacy as all the other companies: The exact amount they have to care by the letter of the law. Why not just tell people that and stop insulting their intelligence and making yourself look silly?

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Sam Pfeifle