In my previous post, I talked about the problem of online tracking and some of the solutions on offer. In this post, I will propose a potential legislative model drawn from copyright law. Several scholars (e.g., Pam Samuelson) have argued that intellectual property holds lessons for privacy. Others have specifically explored whether copyright might.
I am not aware of any argument that the legal protection afforded efforts at digital rights management should be applied to efforts to safeguard one’s web surfing behavior. People with long institutional memories were able to point me to some great technical papers (e.g., this one and this one) applying DRM techniques to safeguarding personal data. It may be that I simply missed the lawerly side of the argument, although its absence would make some sense given DRM’s status as a persona non grata in the cyberlaw community.1
To be clear: I am not a fan of DRM or anti-circumvention either when it comes to copyright for many of the reasons Julie Cohen and others identify. And yet I believe the model holds promise as applied to consumers and their web-surfing habits and offer it up here for purposes of discussion. Read More