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RE: Location services and age limit Re: Location in the news

From: John Carr <johnc1912@msn.com>
Date: Wed, 4 Aug 2010 13:12:04 +0100
Message-ID: <SNT141-ds119AE9A3A3514061A2A4AEAEAF0@phx.gbl>
To: "'Marcos Caceres'" <marcosc@opera.com>
CC: "'Perez, Aram'" <aramp@qualcomm.com>, <ifette@google.com>, "'Karl Dubost'" <karl+w3c@la-grange.net>, <Frederick.Hirsch@nokia.com>, <david.rogers@wholesaleappcommunity.com>, <public-privacy@w3.org>

I am tempted to say we should just archive this discussion and come back to
it a couple of years from now. We'll see where it ends up.

I readily acknowledge that I have no evidence to present which shows that
large numbers of kids have been harmed already by these services but it is
not difficult to see where this is going to end up.

If you think I am the only person saying this kind of stuff you are very
much mistaken- read the article in The Guardian. Look at Privacy
International, EFF, CDT et al - they may not agree with me in relation to
children and my solution for dealing with that aspect but they sure as eggs
is eggs see the emergence of this "dumb tool" as being a very big deal

There are all kinds of dumb tools which have restrictions applied to their
ownership and/or their use. Many of these restrictions are age related. Some
are not e.g. if you have a criminal record for violent offences you cannot
legally buy or own a gun. You may think some of these rules are stupid or
only symbolically important or what have you but that's a different

And by the way, the databases already exist. They are held by outfits such
as the credit reference agencies, or they are on the electoral roll and what
have you. In the UK 95% of every person aged 18 or above is already on

The gambling companies are forbidden by law from asking you only to tick a
box to confirm that you are 18. 

The gambling companies say, in effect, "If you want to use our services or
place a bet with us you have to give us permission to check that you are
indeed over 18." (this is also required by the anti-money laundering rules
btw). So the gambling web site collects the data from the form you have just
filled in and sends it off to one of the databases that you are already on.
If the data matches and it includes the fact that you are 18, then you are
through. You can gamble away to infinity and beyond ;-). The whole thing can
take about 1 second or 2 seconds on a slow day. Of course it costs the
gambling site money to do this, but not very much.  If you don't want to do
this you have three choices: you can go to a bookie on the High Street and
make all your bets with cash (but be ready to produce your ID if you look
young), or you can send papers through the post or go to a local office to
prove you are over 18. Just like Blockbusters really. The third thing you
can do is not gamble. That is definitely an option with location services
too: you cannot use them if you are unwilling to give up certain data about

If adults wish to broadcast location data about themselves I'm fine with
that. I am not opposed to the technology or its potential uses in all kinds
of good ways. I'm perfectly ready to believe that location services will
inevitably and speedily lead us to world peace, the end of drought and
famine, no more repeats of Friends on Cable TV as well as many other
socially useful and admirable things. But children should not be able to get
at them and use them so easily because very many children will not fully
understand the potential consequences or the risks they might be exposing
themselves to. And we already know that their parents don't either so
launching them in the way they have been is irresponsible and bad.

PS "With great power........."  According to Wikipedia it was Jean-Jacques
Rousseau and before him even Socrates can stake a claim. But you're right,
Spiderman modernised it. Not Superman. Mea culpa.

-----Original Message-----
From: public-privacy-request@w3.org [mailto:public-privacy-request@w3.org]
On Behalf Of Marcos Caceres
Sent: 04 August 2010 10:35
To: John Carr
Cc: 'Perez, Aram'; ifette@google.com; 'Karl Dubost';
Frederick.Hirsch@nokia.com; david.rogers@wholesaleappcommunity.com;
Subject: Re: Location services and age limit Re: Location in the news

On 8/4/10 10:58 AM, John Carr wrote:
> I'd hate to get between you and your cows. I'll check with the Cow 
> Liberation Front to see if they have any problems with this, but I 
> surely don't.
> Seriously, I agree. I guess my point is that the big companies that 
> are rolling out these services should behave more responsibly.

Not everyone lives in the same world you do, John. I honestly don't know of
any predators or pedophiles or nasty people. It's not something I think
about or every have had to deal with. Hence, it's good that you come in and
advocate this stuff to us because it's sometimes hard to forget some of
societies problems.

However, I still think it's a fair question to ask:

1) how much of a real problem is it? What is actually happening (all media
beat-up aside). I'm not willing to give up civil liberties and human rights
without absolute proof of problems and actual evidence that the solutions
being proposed help.

> They should have
> worked all this out.

Yeah, and the Stanley knife people should have worked out that people would
use those knifes to hijack planes. And that hammer people should have worked
out that if you hit someone over the head with it, it will kill them.

John, for the last time: IT'S A DUMB TOOL! It's exactly like a hammer. 
If people abuse a hammer, then it's a weapon. The hammer is just a hammer.
The geolocation API is just an API: it just tells one where something is.

> That would have been the socially responsible thing to do.

It was not designed to go out and hurt people. It just gets the location of

> The API, as such, is not the primary issue, but can you guys find a 
> way out of the dilemma?

There is no dilemma. There is only you making up some bogus hysteria about
there being some problem which you have continuously fail to present any
evidence actually exists.

> We shouldn't have to do this but if we do press for laws on this, will 
> the big companies fight them? Use their lobbying power and their 
> lawyers to try to defeat us or delay things until they have anyway 
> amassed a huge amount of location data which they can analyse and use for
commercial purposes?

Or should we hand all our details to some big centralized database, so we
can do age verification... and then that data can also be used for
commercial purposes (or worst) by governments?

> I'm sorry for banging on about the big companies, but to quote 
> Superman "With great power, goes great responsibility".

I thought that was spiderman?

> To their great credit, not
> all big companies are rushing into this  market. Only some of them are.

Marcos Caceres
Opera Software
Received on Wednesday, 4 August 2010 12:12:41 UTC

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