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Re: P3P and the privacy legislation in Germany:

From: Ruediger Grimm <grimm@darmstadt.gmd.de>
Date: Mon, 21 Aug 2000 11:19:22 +0200
Message-ID: <39A0F41A.A5E2E844@darmstadt.gmd.de>
To: "Joseph M. Reagle Jr." <reagle@mit.edu>
CC: rosnagel@uni-kassel.de, www-p3p-public-comments@w3.org
Hi Joseph,

thank you for going into this so deeply. We need this kind
of discussion in order to open our minds outside of our
German/European legal horizon.

I will meet Lorry Cranor and Jazon Catlett in Kiel next
week for the summer workshop at Marit Koehntopp's
privacy protection offices (or how ever the official name is)
of Schleswig-Holstein.

"Joseph M. Reagle Jr." wrote:

> Thank you for the explainations Rüdiger!
>
> At 18:41 8/8/2000 +0200, Ruediger Grimm wrote:
>  >...
>  >Our point is to associate a user CONSENT or a server POLICY
>  >with an electronic signature in order to make it authentic. If the consent
>  >is to be signed by a person who wants to remain unidentified, the
>  >person would use a persona signature (a "pseudonym" as the related
>  >acts on data protection and signature call it).
>
> So the text above, "the creator can be identified" refers to the service,
> and not the user? Regardless, even a requirement for pseudonymous signatures
> seems aggresive. P3P can certainly employ the functionality of XML Signature
> [1], however the TDDSG then seems to presume a massively deployed and usable
> signature and key infrastructure. I don't think this is likely any time
> soon. (Even if I was peronally given the ability to use a key to sign
> contracts or purchase orders on-line today, as a user, I would refuse it
> because of other consumer protection concerns.) Regardless, P3P+XMLSignature
> is technically capable of meeting this requirement.
>
> [1] http://www.w3.org/Signature/

You are absolutely right. The requirement is aggressive and
technologically not yet feasible. The requirement is made by
law-makers who know that other (German) law about digital
signatures but who do not know the technical status of digital
signatures. Of course, XML-DSig is the right technology to
solve this problem one day. P3P is rising the authentication
problem: P3P is right to shift this problem into the future.
Anyway, we have to make this problem explicit in our articles
on privacy technology.

> >...
>  >If so: the German act does require this association because there should
>  >never be an indirection with the reason for data procession (or storage)
>  >of this type:
>  >"we have stored your personal data because our privacy statement is
>  >similar to the privacy statement of another organisation which has stored
>  >the data with your explicit consent": this would open an endless route of
>  >data transfer out of control of the user.
>
> I still don't follow. Is your bad case the following: if a site A says they
> give the data to sites that have similar practices (such as those that don't
> use it for marketing) including site B. Site B has similar practices (no
> marketing, etc.) also gives it to site C? This could go on for a while. But
> the goal is to provide the use with the assurance that if they don't want
> marketing, they won't get marketing, and to give them a sense of the scope
> of distribution, not a complete audit trail (which I think is infeasible).
> What is the alternative and how does it prevent this scenario?

The rules just prevent transitivity: a user would agree to transfer data
to a service A. The user can also allow service A to transfer the date
further to services B, C, D (but no others) for the puropse of
(B: outsourced billing, C: market research, D: making sales offers
to the user). Any other service who would like to get those user
data from A would have to ask the user first.
Of course, the user could also allow the service A to "transfer the
user data to anyone A wants to, under the restriction that..." But this
would be rather an exceptional case. Ths standard case is: explicit
recipients for excplicit purposes.

This is one of the strict rules of the German (and European)
privacy protection laws. This rationale behind this is: the strong binding
between data and the puropse of their use as a basic principle of
privacy protection.

Best greetings --- Ruediger
Received on Monday, 21 August 2000 05:20:12 UTC

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