Steptoe Cyberlaw Podcast, Episode #21: An Interview with Peter Schaar

Stewart Baker
Thursday, May 29, 2014, 10:14 AM

Published by The Lawfare Institute
in Cooperation With

Our podcast this week unpacks the European Court of Justice ruling on the right to be forgotten.  We interview Peter Schaar, a proponent of the right to be forgotten and an eminent former data protection chief.  From 2003 to 2013 Peter was the Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information.  He is currently Chairman of the European Academy for Freedom of Information and Data Protection (EAID) and a guest lecturer at the University of Hamburg. Needless to say, we do not agree, and the debate leaves me concluding that the decision is “even crazier” than I first thought.  Though it nominally calls for balancing the right to be forgotten against the interests of Google and the public’s right to know, the court dismisses Google’s interests as mere money-grubbing and declares that the public’s right to know is presumptively outweighed by the individual’s interest in controlling his own data.  And in case you were wondering whose right to know the Court is balancing away, it’s yours; the take-downs are highly likely to apply to, not just the Spanish or European versions of the search engine. In our news roundup, we discuss the House passage of the USA Freedom bill, and I reprise my New York Times op-ed mocking privacy advocates for thinking that they can identify in advance every clue that might help to identify a terrorist. In other news, LabMD goes to trial, and in a sign of how seriously it takes the challenge to its authority, the FTC throws the kitchen sink at the company, trashing its security policies across the board. China lashes back over the Justice Department’s indictment of PLA members, and we speculate about Interpol red notices and the boost the indictments will give to domestic Chinese tourism. Apple loses a preliminary fight over its liability for the privacy practices of third party apps.  Jason Weinstein digs into the Blackshades indictments and the mild treatment given to the Anonymous hacker, Sabu, who turned in many of his accomplices.  Jason and Michael Vatis also answer this burning question: How much dope can you smoke and still do cyber work for the FBI? Michael also praises the California’s Attorney General’s guidance on how to comply with California’s latest privacy law.  But he has bad news for those who think they don’t need the guidance because they aren’t in California.  If you do business with Californians -- and who doesn’t? -- the law applies to you.

Stewart A. Baker is a partner in the Washington office of Steptoe & Johnson LLP. He returned to the firm following 3½ years at the Department of Homeland Security as its first Assistant Secretary for Policy. He earlier served as general counsel of the National Security Agency.

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