Posts Under: Policy

Chinese Proposed Cross-Border Data Flow Rules Contradict an Emerging International Default Norm for Cross-Border Data Flows

The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) recently issued draft “Security Assessment Measures for the Cross-Border Transfer of Personal Information and Important Data.” The draft comes in the context of the Chinese Cybersecurity Law, which is scheduled to be implemented on June 1, 2017.  The National Security Law of China likely also influenced this draft. 


Trade Agreements and Data Protection: Changing GATS Article XIV is Not the Way to Go

In a March 30, 2017 opinion piece, “Don’t trade away data protection,” two leading Members of the European Parliament, Viviane Reding and Jan-Phillip Albrecht, suggest “strengthening data protection safeguards in the General Exception (known as GATS XIV) and E-Commerce chapters, and removing necessity and consistency tests.”  The idea behind the proposal is to make absolutely certain that the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and perhaps other parts of the EU privacy acquis could not be successfully challenged as inconsistent with an affirmative cross-border data flow obligation.  This is a topic SIIA will comment on again in the coming months, likely in a longer form Issue Brief.  This blog discusses the proposal to remove the necessity test.


U.S.-China Trade: Yes it is Time to Try Something Different!

The meeting between President Donald J. Trump and President Xi Jinping appears to have been a productive first get together between the leaders of the world’s most important bilateral economic and political relationship.   SIIA was pleased that President Trump raised concerns about, among other topics, China’s cyber policies on U.S. jobs and exports. 


Time for Congress to Clarify Rules on Law Enforcement Access to Overseas Data

Technology companies are increasingly challenged by requests by law enforcement to access data stored outside the U.S. This issue came to a head in July 2016, when the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the U.S. Government in the case Microsoft v. United States, stating that the government cannot compel Microsoft, or other companies, to turn over customer emails stored on servers outside the United States.  The Department of Justice (DOJ) is expected to appeal this decision, and various other cases are making their way through the courts.


Not All is Lost for Internet Privacy

Last week, President Trump signed a congressional resolution to roll back the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) broadband privacy rules adopted in 2016.  The response has been a loud outcry that privacy on the internet is dead.  On the contrary, the vast majority of the internet is still under substantial regulation by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).


What Internet Platforms are Doing About “Fake News” and Why it Matters

At last week’s RightsCon in Brussels, much of the talk was about “fake news” and what to do about it.  I was on one of several panels devoted to the topic and found the conversation enlightening.  Here’s what I said and some of my reactions from the panel. The panel’s title was “Resisting Content Regulation in the Post-Truth World: How to Fix Fake News and the Algorithmic Curation of Social Media.”  So, unsurprisingly, the panelists largely agreed that the government should stay out of the way. I met no resistance when I said that freedom of expression means that governments should not determine what is or and what is not fake news; that’s a path to censorship, and we don’t want to go there. I also got buy-in from my second big point, which was that Internet platforms are playing and ought to play a crucial role in controlling the spread of fake news. This role has two distinct components.  Platforms ha ...


Budget Blast: Trump’s Education Budget – Is it Real?


Since President Trump released his “skinny budget,” which would slash $9.2B from the Education Department’s budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018, I’ve heard from many SIIA members wondering what the impact is going to be on schools. In short, the impact of the Trump budget on schools is nada. Nothing. This is a budget proposal and not an actual appropriations bill. Every year, the President puts out a budget proposal and every year it is ignored by appropriators in Congress as they develop the actual federal budget and appropriations levels.

We have already heard from leaders in Congress that President Trump’s proposal would have a steep climb on both sides of the aisle if it were ever to be seriously considered. Additionally, outside stakeholders on all sides of education have weighed in with varying levels of concern.

The proposal does however provide the most detailed window into the Trump Administration’s education priorities that we have had to date. So, what does it propose in order to reach $9.2B? more

Measures of Algorithmic Fairness Move Beyond Predictive Parity to Focus on Disparate Error Rates

There’s good news from the scholarly community working on the assessment of fairness in algorithms.  Computer scientists and statisticians are developing a host of new measures of fairness aimed at providing companies, policymakers, advocates with new tools to assess fairness in different contexts. The essential insight of the movement is that the field needs many different measures of fairness to capture the variety of normative concepts that are used in different business and legal contexts. Alexandra Chouldechova, Assistant Professor of Statistics and Public Policy at Heinz College, says “There is no single notion of fairness that will work for every decision context or for every goal.” To find the right measure for the job at hand, she advises, “Start with the context in which you’re going to apply [your decision], and work backwards from there.” This issue came to a head in the controversy surrounding the COMPAS score.  This s ...