W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-privacy@w3.org > October to December 2012

Re: search engines: right to be forgotten, sitemap.xml proposed solution

From: David Singer <singer@apple.com>
Date: Fri, 14 Dec 2012 14:53:42 -0800
Message-id: <754984A8-0F5E-403A-864C-253A6421181B@apple.com>
To: public-privacy@w3.org

On Dec 13, 2012, at 16:11 , John Brisbin <boabinteractive@gmail.com> wrote:

> On 14/12/2012 8:42 AM, David Singer wrote:
>> All these *little* nuances have very strong consequences for the social glue.
> That is a key observation...the little nuances are a strong factor in the social glue.
>> 
>> True, but I am still trying to find the principles underlying these questions.
>> 
>> 
>> Don't get me wrong, I also react very negatively to the surveillance society, but the principles here do puzzle me.  What we seem to be saying is that we always had these principles, but in physical life we didn't bother to exercise them much because of things like the nuances you mention above. Is that really true? For example, I seem to recall that truth is a defense to a libel action.
>> 
>> David Singer
>> Multimedia and Software Standards, Apple Inc.
>> 
> David: I'm not a legal expert but there may be some relevant philosophy written around the early cases of product liability and class action. Before the industrial age (mass production), the law around manufacturer's liability for damages resulting from faulty/harmful product was an ad hoc affair very much specific to the moment and circumstances. This was practical since most goods were produced at human scale. If the blacksmith did a terrible job on the wagon wheels, and the wagon crashed into the pottery shop, a learned judge could sort it out using well-accepted notions of justice.
> But with the rise of massive manufacturing combines, where thousands of people participated in the "production" and potentially millions could suffer consequences, determining and settling liability and damages required a completely different social strategy.
> The recent discussion on this thread seems to have been hunting around for the philosophical base on which to construct a fair and practical notion of privacy ("the principles underlying these questions"). It is inevitable that we should end up using our individual, common experience of social interaction as a starting point.
> But when we're talking about the massive "machinery of observation" that is flooding through our lives at the moment, I think it's fair to say that there is a *categorical difference* between the normal state of small-scale, human-led observation/forgetfulness and the machine-augmented, corporate-centric processes we are all too aware of at the moment.
> We should be very mindful of this categorical difference when discussing what's right and what's socially acceptable...what works at the personal scale is probably quite irrelevant in these new territories we're working to reify.
> Kind regards,
> JB


That's a very helpful analogy, thank you.

I suspect that there is also something underneath all this that relates to deliberate garnering of data vs. accidental exposure.  If I hang out in the pharmacy with teh express intent of logging everyone who comes through, that's very different from bumping into a friend as I pick up some aspirin, for example.

David Singer
Multimedia and Software Standards, Apple Inc.
Received on Friday, 14 December 2012 22:54:22 GMT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.2.0+W3C-0.50 : Friday, 14 December 2012 22:54:23 GMT