[Geowanking] On geo privacy policies
Dan R. Greening
greening at bigtribe.com
Thu Jun 29 12:37:21 PDT 2006
You are probably thinking of rule-based personalization, where
someone decides in advance what's appropriate for you when you are in
What Nathan Eagle does is use past behavior of others and you to
predict what you will do in a new location. If the system can't
store the location of others, then it has no "model" to figure out
what you will do when behaving similarly. Furthermore, if it can't
save your past behavior, a system cannot build a model of your
personality to leverage and the phone must transmit your whole
behavioral history to the system every time it wants to predict for
you. In a sense, this is even more risky because now you must worry
about things intercepting the data.
Europe, as far as I know, has done very little research in this area
of predictive geographic modeling. I think it is because of this law.
It is fine to make such a decision, but it has tradeoffs that people
may have failed to consider. And it is a truism that Europe is
especially sensitive to privacy issues in the area of business (not
so much if Big Brother--aka the government--is watching). The US is
much more permissive to corporations, and there are downsides to that
Dan R. Greening, Ph.D., CEO BigTribe Corporation, http://
On Jun 29, 2006, at 12:23 PM, Kjetil Kjernsmo wrote:
> On Thursday 29 June 2006 12:39, Dan R. Greening wrote:
>> 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
> I can't really agree. That you cannot _store_ the location of a user
> doesn't mean that you cannot use it if the user willingly provides it
> to you. So, the way to do this is that the user's device itself knows
> its location (by a built-in GPS, being in range of bluetooth devices
> with an ID, or something). If the user wants geography-based
> personalisation, the user agent communicates the necessary data to the
> provider, the provider acts upon it, but doesn't store it.
> That's the general privacy-friendly approach to things, I feel.
> Fact is,
> my little phone has 42 MB of non-volatile memory, which can contain
> information I would willingly share with anyone (for the lifetime of
> the phone), and I bring it along everywhere. It can communicate over
> GPRS over long range or Bluetooth over short range. So, everything is
> there, ask me politely to share it and let me know how it will be
> useful to me, and I'll give you the information (possibly by some
> automated method).
> Well, I'm sort of a transparency guy too, but I'd really like to try
> this approach out first.
> Kjetil Kjernsmo
> Programmer / Astrophysicist / Ski-orienteer / Orienteer / Mountaineer
> kjetil at kjernsmo.net
> Homepage: http://www.kjetil.kjernsmo.net/ OpenPGP KeyID: 6A6A0BBC
> Geowanking mailing list
> Geowanking at lists.burri.to
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