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

From: T.V Raman <raman@google.com>
Date: Thu, 11 Sep 2008 11:07:52 -0700
Message-ID: <18633.24184.890417.208963@retriever.corp.google.com>
To: hsivonen@iki.fi
Cc: public-html@w3.org, wai-xtech@w3.org, singer@apple.com

The user picking a particular alternative does not necessarily
directly reveal a physical disability -- it merely reflects the
abilities of the accessing user at any given point in time. This
difference may be subtle, but it is significant --- I'm prepared
to say "right now I am not in a position to see the screen, send
me audio" --- as a user when I download a given alternative. 
This is different from my saying "I cannot see, give me an

Henri Sivonen writes:
 > 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
 > hsivonen@iki.fi
 > http://hsivonen.iki.fi/

Best Regards,

Title:  Research Scientist      
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Received on Thursday, 11 September 2008 18:09:00 UTC

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