Tag Archives | Resources

Privacy by Design: A Student Guide for Collecting and Protecting User Data

As we start the new semester at UNC – Chapel Hill, I want to reflect briefly on a class I taught last spring and highlight the great work of some of the students in that class.

For the past six years, I’ve taught a class called Media & Internet Law Practicum.  This is a class I designed shortly after joining the faculty at the UNC School of Law.  My goal was to give students the chance to see what it is like to work in the legal department at a diversified media company. I play the role of  “general counsel” and the students, who are assigned to 3-4 person teams, serve as “associate counsel.” In addition to their classroom work, the teams are embedded in one of several ongoing news-producing projects at the UNC School of Media and Journalism, including Carolina Week (television program), Carolina Connection (radio program), Media Hub (multimedia), and Reese News Lab (startup incubator), where the law students work with undergraduate and graduate student journalists.  Through a combination of in-class simulations and real-world problems arising from their projects, the students gain substantial insight into how in-house lawyers provide legal counseling to media and Internet clients.

At the end of the semester I ask each student team to create a tangible resource/guide that addresses an ongoing legal need for their project.  Over the years, the students have created some fantastic things, including copyright and fair use guides, a primer on FERPA, a pocket summary of a reporter’s legal rights when engaged in newsgathering, fair use training aids, and most recently, a guide titled “Privacy and Security by Design: Best Practices for Collecting and Protecting User Data.” This very useful brochure was created by Amber Lee, David Mansor, and Lauren Russell to help the students in the Reese News Lab avoid legal problems when developing new apps and services. They graciously agreed to allow me to share their work with all of you.

Here is a snippet from the introduction:

No matter what your product is, whether it be an app to inform users on local elections, or a payment service for 20-something drinkers trying to avoid long lines at the bar, you will likely be collecting information from your users. Collecting information about your users allows you to better personalize services and marketing, and sharing the information in an appropriate way could potentially be a revenue stream for your company. Almost all websites—including the Federal Trade Commission’s, the federal agency that polices private companies’ cybersecurity—collect some information on its visitors. But startups should tread carefully. Successful tech companies ranging from Uber to Google to Facebook have gotten into trouble with the FTC and have lost public trust for mishandling user data. It is important to think about users’ privacy throughout your product design and development process.

You can download the entire guide here.  Great work Amber, David, and Lauren!



New Resources: Affiliate Scholars Research Repository & Social Sciences Resources Page

We are fortunate to have a number of great scholars affiliated with the Center of Media Law and Policy that hail from the UNC School of Law, the UNC School of Media and Journalism, and the UNC School of Information and Library Science. We are pleased to announce that we have made their work more accessible to the public through a helpful addition on our website!

The updated Media Law Resources page has links to a repository of publications penned by our affiliated faculty. The repository is broken down based on topic and provides links to the each article’s full-text version or abstract. Most articles are available for download.

Works on the following media law topics have been included:

In addition, we have compiled a list of social science resources for those interested in the intersection of law and policy. This list provides links to online libraries and other resource sites that offer publications, reports, or other resources for social science research.

We hope the repository and resource list assists researchers and students alike as they conduct studies on media law and policy. If you have any questions about these new resources, please contact our research fellow, Rachael Jones, at rachael_jones@unc.edu.


Best New Internet Law Books?

Each fall I informally survey my media law colleagues and former Ph.D. students in search of great, new books to assign for my Internet law class.  The class is a mix of UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication undergraduates who already have completed a basic media law class and graduate students.  I’m looking for books that are focused on law and policy issues and that are enjoyable to read.  The latter criterion is important because I’m trying to show students how much fun it can be to study law, especially Internet law.

These are the books reported in this fall’s survey that might fit my criteria, although I haven’t yet looked at them closely enough to assess whether they will be enjoyable to read.

  • Hector Postigo, The Digital Rights Movement: The Role of Technology in Subverting Digital Copyright (2012).
  • Robert Levine, Free Ride: How Digital Parasites Are Destroying the Culture Business, and How the Culture Business Can Fight Back (2012).
  • Kembrew McLeod and Peter DiCola, Creative License:  The Law and Culture of Digital Sampling (2011).
  • Rebecca MacKinnon, Consent of the Networked: The Worldwide Struggle for Internet Freedom (2012).

This is a book that was suggested that sounds good but probably doesn’t have enough law for my purposes:

  • Lee Rainie and Barry Wellman, Networked:  The New Social Operating System (2012).

These are the books I assigned last year:

  • Jack Goldsmith and Tim Wu, Who Controls the Internet?  Illusions of a Borderless World (2006). (This is getting dated but provides valuable background on a number of issues.)
  • Lawrence Lessig, Free Culture:  The Nature and Future of Creativity (2004). (When my student read this they begin to get excited about studying law.)
  • Daniel J. Solove, The Future of Reputation: Gossip, Rumor and Privacy on the Internet (2007).
  • Siva Vaidhyanathan, The Googlization of Everything (2011).

I also have used these books in the past, with good results:

  • Dawn C. Nunziato, Virtual Freedom:  Net Neutrality and Free Speech in the Internet Age (2009).
  • Lawrence Lessig, Remix:  Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy (2008).

Does anyone have any additional suggestions?  Any comments on these books?  Thanks!