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Re: Tracking with ultrasound beacons. Web Audio API privacy considerations need updating?

From: Lukasz Olejnik (W3C) <lukasz.w3c@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 12 Nov 2015 21:56:28 +0000
Message-ID: <CAC1M5qpL_Yu-oDrHGVECfQiES7hQk7s8DoJ2ZhvsjEqenhDC2A@mail.gmail.com>
To: Joe Berkovitz <joe@noteflight.com>
Cc: "public-privacy (W3C mailing list)" <public-privacy@w3.org>, Audio Working Group <public-audio@w3.org>

2015-11-12 21:34 GMT+00:00 Joe Berkovitz <joe@noteflight.com>:

> Hi Lukasz,
> Thanks for raising this point. We are very concerned about privacy.
> At the same time, sound is, along with sight, a fundamental sensory
> modality that is not an "add-on" to a user's web experience: it is an
> integral part of it.

You are completely right here!

> Let me ask a question that would help to bring some clarity to the issue,
> at least for me. Is it not possible that mobile apps might use the camera
> to glimpse the screen of another device, and determine what is displayed
> there, e.g. a QR code of some kind? Would we then ask whether the browser's
> display area be subject to permissions? Or that the browser detect visual
> codes and somehow suppress them?

I understand your concern, but I can readily browse the Web with a muted
sound. In fact, it is quite funny but I very often do so. So I don't really
see a problem here from my perspective to allow the users to disable it.

I suggest not trying to discuss analogies instead of the actual problem [1].
Because then, well, we risk ending up discussing analogies, and we'll loose
sight of the problem...

> Without in any way minimizing this issue, I suppose that I am looking for
> a sense of where we should draw the line in terms of privacy risks. An
> ongoing race to discover and suppress the latest beacon technology could be
> hard to win.

I am also striving to look for such a line for the last few years. So far,
I find the line to be very non-linear...


[1] (this line is a [TM] property of Michal Zalewski, as far as I recall).
Received on Thursday, 12 November 2015 21:56:56 UTC

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