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    Column in Daily News: Online privacy a key topic at UN-sponsored conference

    At the Daily News, Larry Magid has a column about privacy debates at the Internet Governance Forum this week in Lithuania.

    The IGF is an annual United Nations-sponsored event where representatives from governments, nonprofits, academic institutions, and businesses worldwide discuss a broad range of policy issues including online safety, privacy, rights of children, equality issues and other topics pertaining to the way the Internet is affecting every country. […]

    One opening day panel was about “The Future of Privacy,” where speakers looked at data retention and other privacy issues from a European and American perspective. Among the issues discussed was the question “should there be an expiration date on personal information?” — or as one participant put it, “the right to be forgotten.”

    I’m not sure I completely agree. While I do support the idea of limiting the amount of time that companies can store data on individuals, I don’t think that all Internet records should be purged just because a certain amount of time has passed. […]

    I was most interested in comments from EFF’s Senior Staff Attorney Kevin Bankston. Bankston outlined what he called three outdated privacy dichotomies.

    The first is the notion — codified in U.S. law — that data stored in your own home or office computer deserves a higher level of privacy protection than data stored “in the cloud,” or any type of Internet-based storage system including services like web e-mail. The “cloud” is for all practical purposes an extension of your desktop computer, so providing the government with easier access to cloud data than data stored on personal hard drives makes no sense.

    Read the full column to learn about the other privacy dichotomies.

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