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What a Judge Doesn’t Understand About Digital Privacy May Harm Your Children

A recent federal judge’s decision to disclose the complete records of an estimated 10 million California public schoolchildren to a private plaintiff raises serious concerns about privacy and digital security. A new report from the American Enterprise Institute recommends a simple two-part framework for judges that can help the judiciary properly balance affected parties’ privacy interests and cybersecurity concerns, against the need for trial discovery.

First, the court should protect privacy by limiting the exposure of sensitive and superfluous information. Second, once the court has decided which sensitive data to expose, it must act to protect those data. While these strategies will not prevent all data spills, they will raise the awareness and the protective diligence of all the concerned parties.

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