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Privacy implications of automatic alternative selection (Re: Acessibility of <audio> and <video>)

From: Henri Sivonen <hsivonen@iki.fi>
Date: Thu, 11 Sep 2008 20:38:21 +0300
Cc: W3C WAI-XTECH <wai-xtech@w3.org>, Dave Singer <singer@apple.com>
Message-Id: <7805B32F-7E4E-452A-B980-70233BFFEEF2@iki.fi>
To: HTML WG <public-html@w3.org>

The privacy implications of using media queries came up on the  
telecon. (The tacit assumption was that revealing that one has a given  
disability is a privacy-sensitive matter.)

The choice of alternative media streams gives the content provider  
information that correlates with the user's disabilities (unless all  
alternatives were downloaded so that the content provider couldn't  
tell with alternative was actually consumed).

If the user has to select from alternatives, the information about the  
choice is leaked to the content provider at that point.

Media queries (or any other automatic selection mechanism), on the  
other hand, would allow content providers to probe the user's  
disability-correlated settings when the user visits a page without  
taking specific further action on the page.

Henri Sivonen
Received on Thursday, 11 September 2008 17:39:05 UTC

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