Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Life, Death, Privacy, Action! Or, “Spring is Coming” and About Bleeding Time:-)

Surliminal has been a busy little bee lately since the official CREATe launch  at end January (and not just because she’s read the entirety of the first four Game of Thones novels since then.. beware I suspect a GikII paper on Westeros coming near you..) , so it seems about time to update the non-Twitter audience with a bit of what has been going on!

First, my PhD student,Edina Harbinja and I have been doing a fair bit of work on our CREATe and Horizon sponsored project on legal aspects of transmission of digital asets on death. As mentioned a bit ago,  14,000 word summary of our work so far, which is soon to appear in a multidisciplinary collection from Springer, can  be found on marvellous SSRN . That chapter aims to explore some of the major legal issues pertaining to transmission of digital assets (such as social media profiles, songs and videos purchased from iTunes and similar, photos posted on Flickr, in-game assets, online reputations, virtual currencies etc) on death. Particular focus is placed on recent case law concerning access to webmail  after death, and bequeathing of iTunes libraries. We survey the regulation of the area by platform terms of service, bespoke legislation and existing executry law and ask  (a) how far the new digital assets fall into existing paradigms of property (b) the interactions between property, succession, privacy and contract in this domain, especially in the context of assets generated on intermediary sites such as social networks (c) whether we need a notion of "post mortem privacy" and (d) briefly , some solutions to some of the issues thrown up by previous sections, including emerging legislation , and the new breed of "life after death" technology assistants such as Legacy Locker.

The work on post mortem privacy  in that piece lead, as also mentioned a few months back,  to an interdisciplinary symposium at the Amsterdam Privacy Conference last autumn, which in turn has now generated a special section of the online peer reviewed journal SCRIPT-ed. It’s now on line with excellent pieces by Edina (law and DP), Damien McCallig (post mortem copyright), Elaine Kasket (psychology and relationships after death), Jan Bikker (disasters and social media) and an editorial by me. Do have a look.

Secondly, I’ve been speaking to geeks too much as ever :-) ,  and as a result have papers accepted for  the Web Sci Conference workshop on intersections between Web Science and Internet Science (Paris, May 1), on  social media and the impact of real names policies  (with Derek Macaulay of Horizon/Nottingham University) ;  and for W3C (Rio, May) Workshop on Privacy and Security in Online Media, (#psom) on differing transatlantic approaches to Twitter  censorship , anonymity and disclosure policies  (with Andrea Matwyshwn, Wharton, Penn University). 

A longer version of the real names policies paper is also going into a festschrift in presentation for a very esteemed elder statesman of IT law, which I am very happy to be able to contribute to. I think it’s a surprise till publication on May 1, so I won’t spoil it by saying any more just now ! but will make it available shortly thereafter on SSRN and link to it from here.

Sadly though I’m not gonna be able to make Rio (catastrophe! merde!) because I’ve chosen instead to present a paper with Edina, again on post mortem privacy, at the 6th Annual Berkeley Privacy Law ScholarsConference 2013 (June 6-7) which is the best privacy conference in the world bar none. Presenting there will be quite nerve racking! but as the soon as the paper’s done it’ll be (surprise) up on SSRN for comments. I may take in a few other events in the Bay Area/Seattle/Vancouver  round that time so let me know if there’s anything I ought to particular note or to which I could contribute. 

Finally, my piece on social networks, code, law and privacy which has long languished sadly on SSRN
 collecting downloads (124? not so bad!), has finally been published in the very excellent Brown ed
 Research Handbook On Governance Of The Internet (Edward Elgar, 2013 ) where you will also find
 some very interesting contributions from luminaries such as TJ McIntyre (on transatlantic and Uk 
regulation of Internet porn, very useful), Graham Greenleaf on global data protection, Chris Marsden, Milton Mueller
 and ooh, many more.

No comments: