W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-geolocation@w3.org > April 2009

Re: Intended usage notification

From: Nick Doty <npdoty@ischool.berkeley.edu>
Date: Sun, 12 Apr 2009 18:23:38 -0400
Cc: Andrei Popescu <andreip@google.com>, "Thomson, Martin" <Martin.Thomson@andrew.com>, Alissa Cooper <acooper@cdt.org>, Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>, Doug Turner <doug.turner@gmail.com>, public-geolocation@w3.org
Message-Id: <90C26C92-3844-43B7-9E6A-AC8BD460EF7C@ischool.berkeley.edu>
To: Greg Bolsinga <bolsinga@apple.com>
Hmm, wouldn't it be pretty tacky for users to have to click through a  
generic Javascript alert in order to make sure they had contextual  
information for the separate dialogue for revealing location  

I recognize that this would be for my site and not everyone would do  
this, but that almost seems worse.  Shouldn't we have a good  
convention for how websites can disclose the relevant contextual  
information to the user?  Expecting websites to handle it on their own  
has either the danger that everyone would implement an annoying  
Javascript alert or that everyone would hide the information in the  
Privacy Policy.  Though the spec privacy section requires "clear and  
conspicuous disclosure", similar language from the FTC has been  
interpreted as a small link at the bottom of the page to  
incomprehensible legalese.

I appreciate the suggestions of different sites from people on this  
list.  But, for example, I found brightkite's UI to be lacking; I had  
to search that legalese in order to determine how long they'll keep my  
information (forever) and who they'll share it with (others, though  
only in aggregate).

I think we have an opportunity to make it easy for web site designers  
to do the right thing and disclose this information in a standardized  
way.  If we rely on each web site designer going out of their way to  
accomplish this (with a Javascript alert or varying levels of  
conspicuous disclosure), I fear that we'll end up  in a situation  
where most users are making the decision whether or not to disclose  
their location without knowing the relevant information, beyond the  
URI.  In other words, I'd like to solve the problem for everyone, not  
just for me.


On Apr 8, 2009, at 2:04 PM, Greg Bolsinga wrote:

> On Apr 7, 2009, at 10:20 PM, Nick Doty wrote:
>> I'd like to add my voice as one that would hope for some intended  
>> usage notification in the API.  As a web developer, I definitely  
>> want some standard way to let my users know what I'm going to be  
>> doing with their location information and to have that promise in  
>> front of them at the time they're making that decision.  A dialog  
>> that pops up without any context on what my site will do with a  
>> user's location information will make my users uncomfortable.   
>> Given the potentially widely varying ways that the User Agents may  
>> implement asking the user for permission, there may be no way for  
>> me to consistently get my intended usage information to the user so  
>> that they can make an appropriate decision.
> Have your site display a JavaScript alert (or some other UI)  
> explaining things before your javascript code uses  
> navigator.geolocation. Problem solved.
> Thanks,
> -- Greg
Received on Sunday, 12 April 2009 22:24:42 UTC

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