Today and tomorrow, I’m up on a hill in an eastern canton of Switzerland, teaching a two-day course on cyberlaw to graduate students at the University of St. Gallen with our friend and colleague Urs Gasser. The format is a good one: a framework for each of the eight, two-hour (!) classes by the prof, and then student papers presented for the balance of the time, plus discussion.
The first up is a student giving quite a nice paper on privacy-enhancing technologies and their relationship to e-commerce. She is emphasizing the broad lack of awareness of privacy-endangering aspects of life online; the series of technologies and legal remedies to which users have access; and the curious, or unfortunate, fact that Internet users have not widely adopted privacy-enhancing technologies, in Europe and elsewhere. So, should the state step in to ensure that we look after our own online data privacy, absent users helping themselves?
A social norm, separating Switzerland and the United States: at the end of a student presentation, I was the only one clapping. Everyone else: rapping on the table. A cool, maybe better, sound.