An End to Privacy Theater : Exposing and Discouraging Corporate Disclosure of User Data to the Government

This article focuses on the lack of information and on the policy changes necessary to create market pressure for companies to put their customers’ privacy first. The article outlines the numerous ways in which companies currently assist the government, often going out of their way to provide easy access to their customers’ private communications and documents. It also highlights several ways in which some companies have opted to protect user privacy, and the specific product design decisions that firms can make that either protect their customers’ private data by default, or make it trivial for the government to engage in large scale surveillance. Finally, the article makes specific policy recommendations that, if implemented, will lead to the public disclosure of these privacy differences between companies, and hopefully, create further market incentives for firms to embrace privacy by design.

Christopher Soghoian
© Minnesota Journal of Law, Science & Technology, 2010