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Re: Third-Party Web Tracking: Policy and Technology Paper outlining harms of tracking

From: Rob van Eijk <rob@blaeu.com>
Date: Thu, 11 Oct 2012 23:50:21 +0200
To: <public-tracking@w3.org>
Message-ID: <68aa41006acd521d1abe83d69b65cef9@xs4all.nl>
Let's talk more about harm (my_def:= violation of the user's privacy) 
in the context of the permitted uses together with safeguards (no 
secondary use, data minimization and transparency, reasonable security, 
no personalization) to reduce the impact of the permitted uses on the 
privacy of the user. Shane already adressed proportionality. We talked 
about subsidiarity, as in browser based privacy friendly alternatives 
before at length, so I will not touch on those now. We also heard that 
in the EU storing/reading unique identifiers to/from the browser without 
explicit consent is a violation of the user's privacy. We also talked 
about the mis-use of the term anonymous data. In my view, unique 
identifiers that can be used to follow user behavior across sites MUST 
be treated as personal data and a company MUST make representations 
accordingly.

To me harm can be approached the same as risk. So mitigating harm is 
based on reducing the chance of harm and/or reducing the impact on the 
user's privacy.

Some elements that IMHO lead to harm that I would like to bring to the 
table are:

- de-contexualisation: data about the behavior of a user collected in 
one context MUST NOT be applied in other contexts.;
- information dis-balance: it MUST be disclosed to the user which 
specific categories of (online/offline/inferred) data were used to 
display a specific ad;
- intransparent monetisation and customer value: it is often not clear 
what the business proposition is, let alone what value the user 
represents. This SHOULD be part of the informed choice the user gets;
- data retention: data minimization MUST include data retention. Also, 
if a compare-and-forget alternative works for a permitted use, this 
solution MUST be the preferred choice for implementation.

Rob
Received on Thursday, 11 October 2012 21:50:51 UTC

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