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Re: Some Thoughts on Privacy

From: Karl Dubost <karld@opera.com>
Date: Tue, 17 Jan 2012 09:41:29 -0500
Message-Id: <01D7521C-B343-4E6A-BC9D-4FFBF6593F12@opera.com>
Cc: "www-tag@w3.org" <www-tag@w3.org>
To: ashok.malhotra@oracle.com

Le 1 janv. 2012 à 11:21, ashok malhotra a écrit :
> like to call The War on Personal Privacy.

I usually prefer to avoid the notion of Privacy, which is very contextual of individuals, cultures, environments. I prefer to talk about the ability of controlling your own data in these contexts. You might be very open to a specific friend and very close to another one for a specific set of data.

I refer usually to Opacity as it gives an idea of grades more than a binary feeling.

> 1. Personal information that people entrust to social networks or other websites with the understanding that it is private or has limited visibility is leaked to others for profit or due to incompetence. 

Social networks by their infrastructures are *not private*. There is always someone else in the room listening. The same way that in a café, the discussion you have with someone else is not private. Now you might take precautions to not be heard by people around you or by the cafe owner. Most of the social networks do not provide this feature of for example encrypt an exchange.

> 2. Folks collecting information about you without your knowledge or consent.  For example, Google trucks driving by your house and capturing your network SSID or cellphones capturing location and other information. 

Memories, records, forgetful interfaces and storage systems.

> 3. Clickjacking and identifying folks by mouse usage patterns, etc. This may be a subcase of the above or perhaps a separate category.

Web fingerprinting.

> Another solution is a social solution.  If your social network divulges your personal information without your consent, make a big fuss, write a blog, make sure the violation is made public and hopefully the practice will stop.   Should the W3C encourage such social re-activism?

Contrat Social.

Note that by making it more public, you usually increase the issue instead of minimizing it. Barbra Streisand effect.

There are missing pieces in the Web architecture that would mitigate some of the issues. One of them for example is to be able to block the access to some user agents. It is currently possible to do it, but it is _complicated_ for simple users. robots.txt is dumb and do the opposite by revealing what you want to hide and .htaccess requires to have technological competences. 

Plenty more of issues, thoughts, but the mail is already too long.

Karl Dubost - http://dev.opera.com/
Developer Relations, Opera Software
Received on Tuesday, 17 January 2012 14:42:08 UTC

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