Law in the Internet Society

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AlisonRobinsFirstEssay 4 - 23 Dec 2020 - Main.AlisonRobins
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 Why children? While everyone in a democracy has the right to learn, in actuality, adults and children learn differently. Children approach learning from a broad perspective, welcoming new topics, while adults close themselves off in order to be experts in their chosen fields. Children are more flexible to adopting an entirely different world view and can demand a political and legal agenda that accounts for true data privacy (similar to the shift led by the youth on gun control).
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The Monster in the House

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I. The Monster in the House

 
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COPPA's Failures

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A. COPPA's Failures

 The legal framework for protecting children online is insufficient. Congress intended the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 to protect the “personal information” of children thirteen years old or younger online. However, it did not account for rampant behavioral data mining practices. Even in 2010, scholars saw COPPA as an ineffective measure for protecting children on social media. The assumed privacy concern was children giving up their own information voluntarily; that swiftly became usurped by cookies, behavior tracking, and targeted advertisements.
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A Lack of Checks

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i. A Lack of Checks

 COPPA's failures are tied to legislators' na´vetÚ concerning data privacy. Many of the restrictions rely on children accurately reporting their ages online, which they do not. Age verification is useless, even more so when one considers that the only way to fortify it would be to encourage children to throw more personal information (perhaps a birth certificate) onto the fire as a safety measure.

Violating COPPA has incredibly low-grade consequences. Should a company violate a child's privacy online in the United States, it faces but a five-figure fine. To companies like Google or Facebook, this is nothing.

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Insufficiency of Reforming COPPA

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ii. Insufficiency of Reforming COPPA

 The Senate introduced an applicable bill: the Do Not Track Kids Act. But, it advocates for personal consent before collecting data. The point should not be to allow companies to seize your data, but rather that such seizure should be seen as an infringement of a right that cannot be contract[-of-adhesion]ed away. A newer House bill-- Preventing Real Online Threats Endangering Children Today Act--would extend COPPA protections to children up to age sixteen and cover geolocation and biometric data. This is a better step, but an insufficient one. Government needs to completely rethink how it looks at online safety, but does not have the knowledge base to do so.
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The Political Inability to Legislate What You Do Not Understand

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B. The Political Inability to Legislate What You Do Not Understand

 COPPA's failure is tied to misunderstanding the threat. Legislation is caked in the idea of asking users for consent to use data, which begs the question that mining a user's personal data and behavior is something to which a person may consent. Yet, "consumers are unaware of the broad and sweeping control that a website may have over their personal information" and have no idea to what they consent.

One must only think back to the 2018 Facebook Congressional hearing to understand the incompetency of our legislators' technological intellect. So much time was wasted by lawmakers with no idea how lucrative data mining can be ("Senator, we run ads."). We have a political economy in which tech companies have free rein from a government with no checks. Child advocacy already suffers from the inability of its subjects to protect themselves; what is to come when those tasked with protecting children cannot see the monster?

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Investing in Data Privacy Education

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C. Investing in Data Privacy Education

 
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Virtual School and Privacy Violations

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i. Virtual School and Privacy Violations

 A large portion of children are learning via online platforms, and there is little recourse for their privacy concerns. Schools provide hardware and software for education, and under COPPA, "schools can consent on behalf of parents to the collection of student personal information by educational technology services," meaning that the decision-maker on data privacy is now two degrees removed from the affected party. When schools, needing to move swiftly, cannot check how safe these devices and programs are, they essentially hand over personal data that they should have no right to concede. If students had a knowledge basis for their own privacy rights, they would not have to rely solely on parents and educators for advocacy. They could instead assert their own rights and demand software that does not make them a product.
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The Harm of Teaching Data Invasion as a Way of Life

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ii. The Harm of Teaching Data Invasion as a Way of Life

 Without curricula that empowers children to assert their privacy rights online, we teach them to accept data mining as a fact of life. When children must have a camera into their home on constantly and are penalized for the slightest misbehavior in the privacy of their home, we create “a kind of digital panopticon” that regulates the private sphere. Public schools do not just teach math and literature, but also civic duty. You cannot have a democracy that regulates its citizens within their own homes purely because it is the most convenient option for technologically-lacking educators. . If educators and lawmakers do not have the time or resources to learn, then give children a starting point and see their curiosity develop solutions.
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Conclusion

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II. Conclusion

 This all assumes that ensuring true data privacy can wait for children to mature into enfranchised citizens. Some argue that this current generation of adults controls the point of no return, and this tactic pushes off a solution onto the next generation. Yet, when you factor in the amount of time it would take to either elect a congressional majority that understands the importance of data privacy or effectively educate sitting members, I wager you end up with a similar timeline to providing education for children who internalize the values and go beyond its teachings. Plus, education can be done without federal action, allowing swifter action overall in the long term.

AlisonRobinsFirstEssay 3 - 23 Dec 2020 - Main.AlisonRobins
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META TOPICPARENT name="FirstEssay"
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Teach Your Parents Well: Creating a New Data Literacy via Educational Intervention

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Teach Your Children Well: Creating a New Data Literacy via Educational Intervention

 
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-- By AlisonRobins - 09 Oct 2020
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-- By AlisonRobins - 23 Dec 2020
 
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By teaching children what data privacy means, we can create a world in which data mining and other common practices under surveillance capitalism have no choice but to die out. The problem is with the adults in charge who are illiterate about data privacy.
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By teaching children about data privacy, we can create a world in which data mining and other common practices under surveillance capitalism have no choice but to die out. The problem is with the adults in charge who are illiterate about data privacy.

Why children? While everyone in a democracy has the right to learn, in actuality, adults and children learn differently. Children approach learning from a broad perspective, welcoming new topics, while adults close themselves off in order to be experts in their chosen fields. Children are more flexible to adopting an entirely different world view and can demand a political and legal agenda that accounts for true data privacy (similar to the shift led by the youth on gun control).

 

The Monster in the House

Changed:
<
<

COPPA and its Failures

>
>

COPPA's Failures

 
Changed:
<
<
The current framework for protecting children online is insufficient with respect to data mining. Congress intended the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 to protect the “personal information” of children thirteen years old or younger online. However, it could not account for rampant behavioral data mining practices. Even in 2010, scholars saw COPPA as an ineffective measure for protecting children on social media. One reason? The assumed privacy concern was children giving up their own information voluntarily. In reality, that swiftly became usurped by cookies, behavior tracking, and targeted advertisements.
>
>
The legal framework for protecting children online is insufficient. Congress intended the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 to protect the “personal information” of children thirteen years old or younger online. However, it did not account for rampant behavioral data mining practices. Even in 2010, scholars saw COPPA as an ineffective measure for protecting children on social media. The assumed privacy concern was children giving up their own information voluntarily; that swiftly became usurped by cookies, behavior tracking, and targeted advertisements.
 

A Lack of Checks

Changed:
<
<
COPPA’s failures are also tied to the na´vetÚ of its components. Many of the restrictions rely on children accurately giving their age on the internet, which they do not. Age verification is a useless tactic, even more so when one considers that the only way to fortify it would be to encourage children to throw more personal information (perhaps a birth certificate) onto the fire as a way of keeping them safe.
>
>
COPPA's failures are tied to legislators' na´vetÚ concerning data privacy. Many of the restrictions rely on children accurately reporting their ages online, which they do not. Age verification is useless, even more so when one considers that the only way to fortify it would be to encourage children to throw more personal information (perhaps a birth certificate) onto the fire as a safety measure.
 
Changed:
<
<
There are also incredibly low-grade consequences for COPPA violations. Should a company violate a child’s privacy online in the United States, it faces but a five-figure fine. To companies like Google or Facebook, this is nothing. Conversely, the GDPR in Europe fines up to 4% of annual global revenue; still pennies, but much more than the American policy.
>
>
Violating COPPA has incredibly low-grade consequences. Should a company violate a child's privacy online in the United States, it faces but a five-figure fine. To companies like Google or Facebook, this is nothing.
 
Changed:
<
<

Reforming COPPA Meets the Same Insufficient End

>
>

Insufficiency of Reforming COPPA

 
Changed:
<
<
The Senate introduced legislation to cover these issues, such as the Do Not Track Kids Act; but, it advocates for personal consent before collecting data. The point should not be to allow companies to seize your data, but rather that such seizure should be seen as an invasion of a right that cannot be contract[-of-adhesion]ed away. A newer House bill, the Preventing Real Online Threats Endangering Children Today Act, would extend COPPA protections to children up to age sixteen and cover geolocation and biometric data, which may be a better step, but a small one.
>
>
The Senate introduced an applicable bill: the Do Not Track Kids Act. But, it advocates for personal consent before collecting data. The point should not be to allow companies to seize your data, but rather that such seizure should be seen as an infringement of a right that cannot be contract[-of-adhesion]ed away. A newer House bill-- Preventing Real Online Threats Endangering Children Today Act--would extend COPPA protections to children up to age sixteen and cover geolocation and biometric data. This is a better step, but an insufficient one. Government needs to completely rethink how it looks at online safety, but does not have the knowledge base to do so.
 

The Political Inability to Legislate What You Do Not Understand

Changed:
<
<
The reasons for COPPA’s failure are tied to the political misunderstanding as to the identity of the threat. Legislation is caked in the idea of asking users for consent to use data; this begs the question that mining a user’s personal data and behavior is something to which a person may consent. “The flaw in this reasoning, however, is that consumers are unaware of the broad and sweeping control that a website may have over their personal information” and have no idea to what they are consenting.
>
>
COPPA's failure is tied to misunderstanding the threat. Legislation is caked in the idea of asking users for consent to use data, which begs the question that mining a user's personal data and behavior is something to which a person may consent. Yet, "consumers are unaware of the broad and sweeping control that a website may have over their personal information" and have no idea to what they consent.
 
Changed:
<
<
One must only think back to the 2018 Facebook Congressional hearing to understand the incompetency of our legislators’ technological intellect. So much time was wasted by lawmakers with no idea how lucrative data mining can be (“Senator, we run ads.”). This created a political economy in which tech companies have free rein from a government that can offer no checks. Child advocacy already suffers from the inability of its subjects to protect themselves; what is to come when those tasked with protecting children cannot see the monster?
>
>
One must only think back to the 2018 Facebook Congressional hearing to understand the incompetency of our legislators' technological intellect. So much time was wasted by lawmakers with no idea how lucrative data mining can be ("Senator, we run ads."). We have a political economy in which tech companies have free rein from a government with no checks. Child advocacy already suffers from the inability of its subjects to protect themselves; what is to come when those tasked with protecting children cannot see the monster?
 
Changed:
<
<

Investing in Technological Competence with Respect to Privacy

>
>

Investing in Data Privacy Education

 
Changed:
<
<

The Prevalence of Virtual School and Privacy Violations

>
>

Virtual School and Privacy Violations

 
Changed:
<
<
As the majority of children learn via online platforms as an only option this year, there is little recourse for them to navigate privacy concerns. Schools are having to provide hard and software to children so that they can learn. Under COPPA, “schools can consent on behalf of parents to the collection of student personal information by educational technology services,” meaning that the decision-maker on data privacy is now two degrees removed from the affected party. When schools, needing to move swiftly, do not check how safe these devices and programs are, they are essentially handing over personal data about their students that they should have no right to concede. Zoom has an educational version of its program that supposedly complies with FERPA, but no one has time and the knowledge to know to check that. Even when parents know what to do, it can take years—a significant part of a young child’s life—to see if companies are adhering to their deletion policies.
>
>
A large portion of children are learning via online platforms, and there is little recourse for their privacy concerns. Schools provide hardware and software for education, and under COPPA, "schools can consent on behalf of parents to the collection of student personal information by educational technology services," meaning that the decision-maker on data privacy is now two degrees removed from the affected party. When schools, needing to move swiftly, cannot check how safe these devices and programs are, they essentially hand over personal data that they should have no right to concede. If students had a knowledge basis for their own privacy rights, they would not have to rely solely on parents and educators for advocacy. They could instead assert their own rights and demand software that does not make them a product.
 

The Harm of Teaching Data Invasion as a Way of Life

Changed:
<
<
We need to be more vigilant about teaching children about their data rights. Without a curriculum that empowers children to assert their privacy rights online, we teach them to accept data mining as a fact of life. When children must have a camera into their home on constantly and are penalized for the slightest misbehavior in the privacy of their home, we create “a kind of digital panopticon” that regulates the private sphere. Public schools do not just teach math and literature, but also civic duty. You cannot have a democracy that regulates its citizens within their own homes purely because it is the most convenient option for technologically-lacking educators. If there were educators who knew the importance of protection from behavior tracking, they would be aghast.
>
>
Without curricula that empowers children to assert their privacy rights online, we teach them to accept data mining as a fact of life. When children must have a camera into their home on constantly and are penalized for the slightest misbehavior in the privacy of their home, we create “a kind of digital panopticon” that regulates the private sphere. Public schools do not just teach math and literature, but also civic duty. You cannot have a democracy that regulates its citizens within their own homes purely because it is the most convenient option for technologically-lacking educators. . If educators and lawmakers do not have the time or resources to learn, then give children a starting point and see their curiosity develop solutions.
 

Conclusion

Changed:
<
<
If we mandated data privacy in school curricula, a generation would know how to protect itself and would later form the adult population that knew of such danger. Until the law accurately encompasses the actual monster online, political economy truly disincentivizes violations, and the technological know-how is widely prevalent, children and future generations will be oblivious to the pillaging of their online lives.

This is a very good first draft. It's clear and coherent. It implicitly assumes that waiting 15 or 20 years to address current problems is feasible. One route to improvement is to surface the assumption and assess it critically. The same approach might be taken to the other primary implicit assumption, which is that only children can learn. Why would we come to that conclusion? Isn't our society's particular idea of democracy, which we often call Jeffersonian, dependent on a contrary assumption about how self-government works?
>
>
This all assumes that ensuring true data privacy can wait for children to mature into enfranchised citizens. Some argue that this current generation of adults controls the point of no return, and this tactic pushes off a solution onto the next generation. Yet, when you factor in the amount of time it would take to either elect a congressional majority that understands the importance of data privacy or effectively educate sitting members, I wager you end up with a similar timeline to providing education for children who internalize the values and go beyond its teachings. Plus, education can be done without federal action, allowing swifter action overall in the long term.
 
You are entitled to restrict access to your paper if you want to. But we all derive immense benefit from reading one another's work, and I hope you won't feel the need unless the subject matter is personal and its disclosure would be harmful or undesirable.

AlisonRobinsFirstEssay 2 - 14 Nov 2020 - Main.EbenMoglen
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META TOPICPARENT name="FirstEssay"
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 If we mandated data privacy in school curricula, a generation would know how to protect itself and would later form the adult population that knew of such danger. Until the law accurately encompasses the actual monster online, political economy truly disincentivizes violations, and the technological know-how is widely prevalent, children and future generations will be oblivious to the pillaging of their online lives.
Added:
>
>
This is a very good first draft. It's clear and coherent. It implicitly assumes that waiting 15 or 20 years to address current problems is feasible. One route to improvement is to surface the assumption and assess it critically. The same approach might be taken to the other primary implicit assumption, which is that only children can learn. Why would we come to that conclusion? Isn't our society's particular idea of democracy, which we often call Jeffersonian, dependent on a contrary assumption about how self-government works?

 
You are entitled to restrict access to your paper if you want to. But we all derive immense benefit from reading one another's work, and I hope you won't feel the need unless the subject matter is personal and its disclosure would be harmful or undesirable. To restrict access to your paper simply delete the "#" character on the next two lines:

AlisonRobinsFirstEssay 1 - 09 Oct 2020 - Main.AlisonRobins
Line: 1 to 1
Added:
>
>
META TOPICPARENT name="FirstEssay"

Teach Your Parents Well: Creating a New Data Literacy via Educational Intervention

-- By AlisonRobins - 09 Oct 2020

By teaching children what data privacy means, we can create a world in which data mining and other common practices under surveillance capitalism have no choice but to die out. The problem is with the adults in charge who are illiterate about data privacy.

The Monster in the House

COPPA and its Failures

The current framework for protecting children online is insufficient with respect to data mining. Congress intended the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 to protect the “personal information” of children thirteen years old or younger online. However, it could not account for rampant behavioral data mining practices. Even in 2010, scholars saw COPPA as an ineffective measure for protecting children on social media. One reason? The assumed privacy concern was children giving up their own information voluntarily. In reality, that swiftly became usurped by cookies, behavior tracking, and targeted advertisements.

A Lack of Checks

COPPA’s failures are also tied to the na´vetÚ of its components. Many of the restrictions rely on children accurately giving their age on the internet, which they do not. Age verification is a useless tactic, even more so when one considers that the only way to fortify it would be to encourage children to throw more personal information (perhaps a birth certificate) onto the fire as a way of keeping them safe.

There are also incredibly low-grade consequences for COPPA violations. Should a company violate a child’s privacy online in the United States, it faces but a five-figure fine. To companies like Google or Facebook, this is nothing. Conversely, the GDPR in Europe fines up to 4% of annual global revenue; still pennies, but much more than the American policy.

Reforming COPPA Meets the Same Insufficient End

The Senate introduced legislation to cover these issues, such as the Do Not Track Kids Act; but, it advocates for personal consent before collecting data. The point should not be to allow companies to seize your data, but rather that such seizure should be seen as an invasion of a right that cannot be contract[-of-adhesion]ed away. A newer House bill, the Preventing Real Online Threats Endangering Children Today Act, would extend COPPA protections to children up to age sixteen and cover geolocation and biometric data, which may be a better step, but a small one.

The Political Inability to Legislate What You Do Not Understand

The reasons for COPPA’s failure are tied to the political misunderstanding as to the identity of the threat. Legislation is caked in the idea of asking users for consent to use data; this begs the question that mining a user’s personal data and behavior is something to which a person may consent. “The flaw in this reasoning, however, is that consumers are unaware of the broad and sweeping control that a website may have over their personal information” and have no idea to what they are consenting.

One must only think back to the 2018 Facebook Congressional hearing to understand the incompetency of our legislators’ technological intellect. So much time was wasted by lawmakers with no idea how lucrative data mining can be (“Senator, we run ads.”). This created a political economy in which tech companies have free rein from a government that can offer no checks. Child advocacy already suffers from the inability of its subjects to protect themselves; what is to come when those tasked with protecting children cannot see the monster?

Investing in Technological Competence with Respect to Privacy

The Prevalence of Virtual School and Privacy Violations

As the majority of children learn via online platforms as an only option this year, there is little recourse for them to navigate privacy concerns. Schools are having to provide hard and software to children so that they can learn. Under COPPA, “schools can consent on behalf of parents to the collection of student personal information by educational technology services,” meaning that the decision-maker on data privacy is now two degrees removed from the affected party. When schools, needing to move swiftly, do not check how safe these devices and programs are, they are essentially handing over personal data about their students that they should have no right to concede. Zoom has an educational version of its program that supposedly complies with FERPA, but no one has time and the knowledge to know to check that. Even when parents know what to do, it can take years—a significant part of a young child’s life—to see if companies are adhering to their deletion policies.

The Harm of Teaching Data Invasion as a Way of Life

We need to be more vigilant about teaching children about their data rights. Without a curriculum that empowers children to assert their privacy rights online, we teach them to accept data mining as a fact of life. When children must have a camera into their home on constantly and are penalized for the slightest misbehavior in the privacy of their home, we create “a kind of digital panopticon” that regulates the private sphere. Public schools do not just teach math and literature, but also civic duty. You cannot have a democracy that regulates its citizens within their own homes purely because it is the most convenient option for technologically-lacking educators. If there were educators who knew the importance of protection from behavior tracking, they would be aghast.

Conclusion

If we mandated data privacy in school curricula, a generation would know how to protect itself and would later form the adult population that knew of such danger. Until the law accurately encompasses the actual monster online, political economy truly disincentivizes violations, and the technological know-how is widely prevalent, children and future generations will be oblivious to the pillaging of their online lives.


You are entitled to restrict access to your paper if you want to. But we all derive immense benefit from reading one another's work, and I hope you won't feel the need unless the subject matter is personal and its disclosure would be harmful or undesirable. To restrict access to your paper simply delete the "#" character on the next two lines:

Note: TWiki has strict formatting rules for preference declarations. Make sure you preserve the three spaces, asterisk, and extra space at the beginning of these lines. If you wish to give access to any other users simply add them to the comma separated ALLOWTOPICVIEW list.


Revision 4r4 - 23 Dec 2020 - 20:29:05 - AlisonRobins
Revision 3r3 - 23 Dec 2020 - 18:29:48 - AlisonRobins
Revision 2r2 - 14 Nov 2020 - 12:46:06 - EbenMoglen
Revision 1r1 - 09 Oct 2020 - 19:38:39 - AlisonRobins
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