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Re: A few ideas around Privacy

From: Karl Dubost <karld@opera.com>
Date: Sat, 9 Apr 2011 08:53:40 -0400
Message-Id: <DAEA28CE-9A9A-4459-AF9D-4104455F36DE@opera.com>
To: "public-privacy (W3C mailing list)" <public-privacy@w3.org>

Le 8 avr. 2011 à 19:38, Karl Dubost a écrit :
> David stressed out [1] the tension in between having access to data and hiding data.

Sorry for the Morning reading and ideas around traceability and trying to connect it with technology. ;)

Another example. Health statistics in the society and traceability.

When an Insurance company is gathering health stats on type of disease, which ones are the most likely to happen, which ones cost more, etc. they are able to improve their business by planning the global cost of insurances. 

The issue comes when the philosophy behind this gathering change. There are two options:

* "Contrat social" [1]: You compute the global cost and
  you know how to fix the price for everyone, some
  people will pay more than they need, but the ones who
  need it will benefit it. The idea of repartition for
  the good of the society (european countries for

* "Economic Liberalism" [2]: The stats will give the
  power to the insurance company to fix the prices by
  person depending on the health risks and family
  history. Each person pays a different price.

In addition of the philosophy or ethics in doing that, there is the *possibility of doing it* aka traceability. 

1. When something, which seems benign at the start, becomes suddenly harmful when use on individuals instead of the global group? 
2. What is the possibility for an individual to protect him/herself from this individual targeting?

The price of sugar: When ordering coffee in a café, you do not pay the sugar, we pay the sugar. The cost is upon the group that you take it or not. Now, give the possibility for the coffee owner to trace the sugar consumption to individual (without mininal cost in doing so), he/she could introduce the price of sugar in each individual coffee and adjust the price individually. Some people would be happy about that, some not. The same goes for time stayed in the cafe (light, heating, etc.).

The key being when it becomes easy to monitor people, gather data, the traceability increases and can be used in ways that target the individuals. In the digital realm, this issue is very acute in terms of traceability and in terms power into analyzing these data. It predates the Web btw (Any electronics, banking systems, membership cards, etc.)

[1]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contrat_social
[2]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_liberalism

Karl Dubost - http://dev.opera.com/
Developer Relations & Tools, Opera Software
Received on Saturday, 9 April 2011 12:54:12 UTC

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