Archive for October, 2007

What Google Knows: Privacy and Internet Search Engines

October 25, 2007

Search engines are the most important phenomenon on the Internet today and Google is the gold standard of search. Google evokes ambivalent feelings. It is adored for its ingenuity, simple, modest-looking interface and superb services offered at no (evident) cost. Yet increasingly, it is feared by privacy advocates who view it as a private sector big brother posing perhaps the biggest privacy problem of all times. Google is an informational gatekeeper harboring previously unimaginable riches of personal data. Billions of search queries stream across Google’s servers each month, the aggregate thoughtstream of humankind, online. Google compiles individual search logs, containing information about users’ fears and expectations, interests and passions, and ripe with information that is financial, medical, sexual, political, in short – personal in nature. How did Google evolve from being a benevolent giant seeking to do no evil into a privacy menace reviled by human rights advocates worldwide? Are the fears of Google’s omniscient presence justified or overstated? What personal data should Google be allowed to retain and for how long? What rules should govern access to Google’s database? What are the legal protections currently in place and are they sufficient to quell the emerging privacy crisis? These are the main issues addressed in this article. See SSRN page for this and additional articles here.

Complying with Israeli DP Law: Database Registration, International Transfers and Employee Monitoring

October 25, 2007

Multinational companies operating in Israel typically face several recurring data protection issues, including local database registration requirements; conditions for international data transfers; and monitoring and surveillance of employees at the workplace. This article briefly outlines the Israeli approach to each of these issues in turn, including notable recent changes and proposals for reform.

Israeli DP Law: Constitutional, Statutory and Regulatory Reform

October 25, 2007

In this article, published in the October 2007 issue of Privacy and Data Protection, I review recent changes in Israeli privacy and data protection law. The elevation of the right of privacy to constitutional status has moved the Israeli Supreme Court to extend privacy and data protection beyond the scope of the Privacy Protection Act of 1981 (“PPA”). And the PPA too is changing: driven by technological developments and the will to harmonize Israeli law with European standards, a government committee has recently proposed a wholesale reform of the statute’s data protection chapter (the Schofman Report). To increase compliance and enforcement levels, Israel has established a new data protection authority – the Israeli Law and Information Technologies Authority (“ILITA”) – to replace the former Database Registrar. I review in this article the spate of recent changes in Israeli data protection law and comment on persisting discrepancies between Israeli and European data protection.

Bi-annual post

October 25, 2007

Haven’t posted here in quite some time. Decided to start a Hebrew blog instead. Well – maybe a good opportunity to link to a couple of articles I wrote recently.