[Geowanking] On geo privacy policies
Dan R. Greening
greening at bigtribe.com
Thu Jun 29 03:39:17 PDT 2006
Just a comment on advance policy work on geoprivacy, like Geopriv: I
think developing privacy laws and policies in a vacuum is a recipe
for disaster. Europe adopted some seemingly harmless geoprivacy laws
back in 2002 (OK I howled about it then, including to the EU privacy
czar, but no one cared). When last I checked, EU law precludes
things like geography-based personalization, like the stuff Nathan
Eagle does, because you cannot store location-tracking information
with user-identification in the EU ... like EVER... even if you
inform the consumer. A whole class of applications is now verboten
Rather I think we should adopt the "agile" methods: being reasonable
about privacy as companies, describing company privacy policies
explicitly on web sites and so forth, testing applications and
policies out in the market, and refining. Sue the companies if they
fail to implement the policies they claim they have.
There are many reasons for doing it this way, but one reason is that
people and society adapt to technology; it isn't just technology
having to adapt to "the way people will always think".
For example, I am on the middle-aged side and I have watched society
adapt to the "privacy invasion" that I think is almost inevitable
with the Internet. While I myself am a "transparent society" type,
thinking it is fine if everyone knows my personal life (as long the
behavior of authorities is also transparent), I am still amazed at
how open my younger peers are as a whole class of people. From
Facebook to MySpace, there is plenty of evidence that people are
revealing more personal aspects of themselves in a more public way
than ever before, fearlessly. I think this openness provides for a
more rational and human-diversity respecting society, and celebrate
it. And yet, when I reveal information about myself in this same
way, it just feels a little weird.
Don't get me wrong; I think people should be able to choose to turn
location-tracking on and off whenever they want. It's just that when
you try to develop laws or broadly-applied policies in advance of
technology, you often fail.
I guess a great example is P3P "Platform for Privacy Preferences",
embedded in IE. It is largely ignored today, and the consumer
doesn't even know it is there. I mean the consumer can turn on-and-
off access to different web sites based on the encoded policy, but
who actually does this? I think about the vast effort put behind
this P3P technology in the late 90s and think it was just a huge waste.
Dan R. Greening, Ph.D., CEO BigTribe Corporation, http://
On Jun 28, 2006, at 8:00 PM, Andrew Turner wrote:
>> At the same time, the sociotechnical problems that have long been
>> from these systems—privacy invasion, privacy confusion, LBSpam,
>> control issues—are not yet real on a large scale, however well-
>> they may be. This is partly because LBS developers have adopted
>> design patterns from other "read/write web" contexts, but also
>> because the
>> user base is just not that large or diverse yet.
> THis seems like just the time to start developing standards that make
> sense and look to the future. Lets not design another static HTML,
> (without flash). There isn't "lock-in" yet, so we can develop GeoPriv,
> anti-map-spam, etc.
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