Featured

New Report: From the Filing Cabinet to the Cloud: Updating the Privacy Act of 1974

This comprehensive report and proposed bill text is focused on the Privacy Act of 1974, an important and early Federal privacy law that applies to the government sector and some contractors. The Privacy Act was written for the 1970s information era — an era that was characterized by the use of mainframe computers and filing cabinets. Today’s digital information era looks much different than the ’70s: smart phones are smarter than the old mainframes, and documents are now routinely digitized and stored and perhaps even analyzed in the cloud, among many other changes. The report focuses on why the Privacy Act needs an update that will bring it into this century, and how that could look and work. This work was written by Robert Gellman, and informed by a two-year multi-stakeholder process.

COVID-19 and HIPAA: HHS’s Troubled Approach to Waiving Privacy and Security Rules for the Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic strained the U.S. health ecosystem in numerous ways, including putting pressure on the HIPAA privacy and security rules. The Department of Health and Human Services adjusted the privacy and security rules for the pandemic through the use of statutory and administrative HIPAA waivers. While some of the adjustments are appropriate for the emergency circumstances, there are also some meaningful and potentially unwelcome privacy and security consequences. At an appropriate time, the use of HIPAA waivers as a response to health care emergencies needs a thorough review. This report sets out the facts, identifies the issues, and proposes a roadmap for change.

WPF Report — The Scoring of America: How Secret Consumer Scores Threaten Your Privacy and Your Future

To score is human. Ranking individuals by grades and other performance numbers is as old as human society. Consumer scores — numbers given to individuals to describe or predict their characteristics, habits, or predilections — are a modern day numeric shorthand that ranks, separates, sifts, and otherwise categorizes individuals and also predicts their potential future actions. This new report by Pam Dixon and Robert Gellman explores this issue of predictive scores and privacy.

Privacy in India Video Series: WPF

India and Privacy — WPF has researched privacy extensively in India, and has documented a number of key privacy issues in a video series. So far, 5 videos in the series have been released. All of the videos were shot on location in India and feature Pam Dixon, with videographer Blake Hamilton. These videos offer a rare and early glimpse into privacy interactions and issues in India