Posts Under: Data

Hal Varian Talks Data and Competition

Twenty years ago, Hal Varian and Carl Shapiro published what has become the classic introduction to network economics.  Called Information Rules it described and illustrated key economic concepts like network effects, positive feedback loops, standards wars, market tipping points and switching costs, using examples that are now so dated that would not be recognizable to today’s digital natives.  But the text drilled into a generation of entrepreneurs and policymakers the importance of understanding the basic economics of network industries before starting a network business or trying to throw a regulatory net around a network industry.   Today Hal Varian works as Google’s chief economist. In his personal capacity he delivered a crash course on AI and data to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s TecGlobal 2018 meeting on April 4. He illustrated the familiar advances in machine learning through pattern recognition in voice and images, noting that it was t ...

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The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR): Reasonable Implementation Key Now

Today, the Atlantic Council hosted an interesting panel discussion entitled: “Protectionism, Data Privacy, and the Transatlantic Partnership.”  European Commission Digital Affairs Counselor Peter Fatelnig, Atlantic Counsel Distinguished Fellow Fran Burwell, and the U.S. Chamber’s Senior Manager for Digital Affairs Kara Sutton provided a lot of substance and perspective on what is happening in the run-up to the GDPR’s May 25, 2018 entry-into-force.    Appropriately, although the event name started with “protectionism,” nobody discussed the GDPR in those terms.  That is because whatever one’s views are on whether the Regulation really will promote digital innovation in Europe, the GDPR per se is not a protectionist Regulation.  Besides, the train has left the station.  Companies around the world, including SIIA and its member companies, are racing to comply with the GDPR.  Currently, I spend about a quarter o ...

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On Vermont Data Broker Bill, Don’t Use a Shotgun When the Constitution Requires a Scalpel

When the Equifax data breach occurred, 240,000 Vermonters received notice that their information had been compromised.  Equifax’s initial response—which among other things required people to waive their legal rights—did not inspire great confidence in the public.  And legislators were justifiably angry. But people make mistakes when they’re angry, and when the First Amendment is involved, those mistakes can be expensive.  Not so long ago, the legislature was convinced that it could regulate information in the same way as “beef jerky.”  Both liberal and conservative justices of the Supreme Court told them they were wrong.  As a result, Vermont spent $4 million and was forced to pay approximately $2.22 million in attorneys’ fees.   History is about to repeat itself. The Vermont Senate is now considering legislation that requires provocatively named “data brokers” to register with the state and co ...

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'We’re Open for Business' - Fresh Off Acquisition of Smart Rhino Labs, Randall-Reilly Looks for More

Randall-Reilly’s acquisition last week of Smart Rhino Labs, which offers recruiting services for the trucking industry and provides its new parent with a deeper level of lead gen and data capabilities, could be the first of several deals as Randall-Reilly looks to build out its portfolio thanks to a full war chest courtesy of private equity firm Aurora Capital, which purchased the publisher last year for a reported $230 million. “Last summer we went through a quick version of strategic planning and started lining up priority acquisitions,” Prescott Shibles, Senior Vice President of Data at Randall-Reilly, told Connectiv. “That’s why we didn’t buy anything right out of the gate with Aurora. Now, we’re open for businesses.” Randall Reilly is looking for four key elements from an acquisition according to Shibles: assets that provide complementary data sets; new capabilities that solve client pain points; businesses that bring in new cl ...

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SIIA Releases Issue Brief on Ethical Use of Big Data and Artificial Intelligence

The application of big data analytics has already improved lives in innumerable ways.  It has improved the way teachers instruct students, doctors diagnose and treat patients, lenders find creditworthy customers, financial service companies control money laundering and terrorist financing, and governments deliver services.  It promises even more transformative benefits with self-driving cars and smart cities, and a host of other applications will drive fundamental improvements throughout society and the economy. Government policymakers have worked with developers and users of these advanced analytic techniques to promote and protect these publicly beneficial innovations, and they should continue to do so. In many circumstances, current law and regulation provide an adequate framework for strong public protection.  Most of the legal concerns that animate public discussions can be resolved through strong and vigorous enforcement of rules that apply to advanced and tradi ...

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SEC and Civil Agencies Should Need a Warrant for Remotely-Stored Electronic Content

For years, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)  has been seeking an administrative agency exception that would enable it to use a subpoena to access email content stored remotely by third parties.  But under current legal precedent, per a 2010 Sixth Circuit decision, United States v. Warshak, it has been precedent that this material should only be accessible with a search warrant. The SEC continues to seek expanded authority, and they question the application of this warrant requirement to civil agencies.  In February, they issued a subpoena to Yahoo to access a user’s email, where the account was owned by a defendant in a securities fraud case.  Yahoo has rightly challenged this action, and the case, Securities and Exchange Commission v. North Star Finance LLC, represents a landmark dispute regarding the government efforts to obtain email content in a civil case with just a subpoena to an email service provider. Unlike a warrant based upon pro ...

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Only Congress Can Fix Our International Legal Framework

On Friday, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a petition seeking the Supreme Court to consider an ongoing legal case about access to data stored overseas.  But the courts are powerless to craft a balanced policy for law enforcement access to data stored abroad.  Only Congress can do it.

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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.

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