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RE: ACTION-785: Check the personalization section for specific parts that seem to imply combination of personal information with usage patterns

From: Scheppe, Kai-Dietrich <k.scheppe@telekom.de>
Date: Mon, 28 Jul 2008 18:29:01 +0200
Message-ID: <398533C370C23441981074C456AA3BDD031DB8ED@QEO00226.de.t-online.corp>
To: "Sullivan, Bryan" <BS3131@att.com>, <public-bpwg@w3.org>
Hi Bryan,


	Hi Kai,
	Yes, I agree that there is a subtle but important distinction
between personalizing information (information that has been
obtained/derived that helps in providing a more personal service) and
personal information (a person's specific attributes). I do recommend
that we help developers understand that it is perfectly fine to use
personalizing information as described in the text that existed in
section 4.1 of the 20080521 version: "Personalized services are enabled
by Content Provider awareness of personalizing information, e.g. user
identity, preferences, and delivery context characteristics." 
	 

That sentence is correct as far as I am concerned, but want to point out
that it is somewhat oblique and therefore may not be understood as a
warning that this is a sensitive topic. 

	 
	As indicated in the text of section 3.2.1.1 "Personally
identifiable information (e.g. user identity or information usable as a
key to user identity) should only be accepted or sent securely. Less
sensitive information that cannot be associated with an individual (e.g.
a zip code by itself is not personally identifiable) can be exchanged in
the clear provided the correlating information is secure.". This
indicates that there is a different level of sensitivity to information
that is personally identifiable e.g. name or MSISDN, or any other public
identity/attribute which can be used to identify a specific individual,
as compared to a pseudo-ID (e.g. Yahoo ID). 

The paragraph does reflect the most common concern here and is, as such,
correct, but it only deals with security of transmission and not the
fact that some of this data may not be associated.  

	The specific concern you have though seems to be with behavior
tracking, and use of that information in subsequent service. I agree
with you that usage history can be used as personalizing information,
and if passively collected (i.e. without specific user consent), then
should not be used in association with personal information, since that
could be a privacy concern. 

More specifically, it is the type of data that is collected, the
circumstance under which it was collected and how it is then used.
I merely want to make sure that people using personal data in mobile web
applications are aware of privacy concerns and potential legal
ramifications of combining certain data.
 
For this some simple clarification would suffice.
 
Here is a proposal:
 
"Data which is collected without the express permission by the user may
not be used in certain ways that associate usage patterns and activities
with a specific user or user account.  Data for which such permission
has been given may be dealt with more freely.  The precise applicability
of laws in this area are specific to the context in which the
application would run.
Developers are encouraged to seek advice on the particular privacy
concerns relating to their specific application."
 
 
 
-- Kai
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

	 
	Best regards,
	Bryan Sullivan | AT&T
________________________________

	From: Scheppe, Kai-Dietrich [mailto:k.scheppe@telekom.de] 
	Sent: Friday, July 25, 2008 3:07 AM
	To: Sullivan, Bryan; public-bpwg@w3.org
	Subject: RE: ACTION-785: Check the personalization section for
specific parts that seem to imply combination of personal information
with usage patterns
	
	
	Hi Bryan,
	 
	We have to be careful, because terminology in this discussion is
key.
	"Personalization Information" as you use it, could mean several
things in my world.
	In general there is no problem with it.
	 
	I am concerned about "personal information".
	 
	 
	Let me give an example:  
	There is a user group classified as "super user".  These are
computer savvy, regular users, that are early adopters, interested in
gadgets and technology (I am making this up)
	Now Kai comes to the portal and a cookie is stored on his
devices that says "Hi, I am a super super".
	 
	Next time Kai comes to the portal and he is greeted.
	"Hi Kai , welcome back.  You might find our offers of
intergalactical warp coils for your newest mod on your computer
interesting.  Here is a link."
	 
	This would be acceptable so far.
	The site knows who you are, which type of user you are and
recommends products based on your user grouping.
	 
	 
	 
	Different scenario, same setup:
	 
	Except this time, upon returning the site says:
	"Hi Kai, welcome back.  Yesterday you checked out our mods on
computers.  We have some intergalactic warp coils for you.  Here is a
link."
	 
	Not ok and, quite frankly, illlegal in most places I am aware
of.
	Here detailed tracking information that goes beyond "just"
recognizing patterns has been connected to personal informational.
	 
	Specifically user X was at location Y at time Z.
	 
	 
	"Personalization information" is part of all of it.
	 
	If, as I said as well, the user gives permission, then much more
can be saved and associated (see passive vs. active personalization)
	 
	 
	Quite frankly I am not that concerned with this pesonally, but
we are proposing something that is, at least in my understanding,
illegal in many places.
	That is what I am trying to point out.
	 
	 
	 
	-- Kai
	 
	 
	 
	
	

________________________________

		From: public-bpwg-request@w3.org
[mailto:public-bpwg-request@w3.org] On Behalf Of Sullivan, Bryan
		Sent: Friday, July 25, 2008 12:02 AM
		To: public-bpwg@w3.org
		Subject: RE: ACTION-785: Check the personalization
section for specific parts that seem to imply combination of personal
information with usage patterns
		
		
		To clarify the intent of the section as originally
provided (my input), the assumption is there (I thought clearly, but we
can make it more explicit, again) that the personalizing information is
provided directly by the user or a trusted entity that the user has
authorized to disclose personal information to gain some value-added
service feature. 
		 
		Not only is there nothing "wrong" with this (except in
certain locales, if any, where only anonymous service is allowed by
law), there is nothing "wrong" with associating the personalizing
information with usage patterns etc. Such usage patterns are often
useful in providing more personalized service, and if understood/agreed
by the user (informed consent), there is nothing "wrong" in their use.
Note that personalizing information does not have to include any
public/traceable identity (e.g. MSISDN or name): it can be a
pseudo-identity which can itself be short-lived. There are many ways to
turn up the privacy meter and retain personalization capability.
		 
		I think part of the problem here is that the current
draft has eliminated much of the supporting rationale text for
personalization being a special issue in the mobile context, and as a
result I believe people are in danger of misinterpreting the intent.
This often happens when specifications establish the context of the
assertions they make, then in the process of completing the spec the
context info is simplified/eliminated (because it perhaps seems too
wordy to some who like more terse text), but the readers (and those
working on the text themselves) lose the thread of rationale and end up
questioning the whole darn business. I see that process at work here.
		 
		There is value in retaining both active and passive
personalization information as Kai has put them, but for MWABP I think
we only need discuss active personalization. Active personalization is
more likely to have a direct impact on the user (information entry) or
the content provider (determining the personalizing info, e.g. identity
and related preferences, may require extra work at the server side). The
earlier version text (20080521) made this clear through the reference to
use of SSO technology/methods, but for some reason in the current
version that is gone... more "simplification" I suppose.
		 
		So overall I caution against too much fear of stating
realities (it *is* a reality that with proper user consent, personal
information is in fact used, to provide better service), and
over-simplification of the text.
		 
		Best regards,
		Bryan Sullivan | AT&T
________________________________

		From: public-bpwg-request@w3.org
[mailto:public-bpwg-request@w3.org] On Behalf Of Scheppe, Kai-Dietrich
		Sent: Thursday, July 24, 2008 8:33 AM
		To: public-bpwg@w3.org
		Subject: ACTION-785: Check the personalization section
for specific parts that seem to imply combination of personal
information with usage patterns
		
		
		Well, since adjourned early, I had some time :-)
		 
		 
		BP2 revisted for this action
		 
		This now applies to section 3.1 (formerly 4.1, as listed
in ACTION-784)
		 
		

		regarding...


		3.1.1.1 What it means


		If a service relies on user entered personalization
information (e.g. application preferences, personal details) that
information should be retained in order to avoid the need to re-enter it
the next time a user visits the site.

		 

		Here we should simply delete ", personal details" or
change it into "personal preferences".

		Personal data could be construed to mean name, address,
phone number etc. which is not allowed to be associated with usage
patterns and other information like it.

		 

		 

		regarding...

		

		3.1.2.2 How to do it


		The simplest way to do this is to associate
personalization information with a given user identity and obtain their
login credentials directly on first access.

		 

		Here we need to separate between what is often called
"passive personalization" and "active personalization".

		Passive personalization tracks usage patterns and tends
to assing a profile to a user that fits to his behavior, but is not
combined with personal information

		Active personalization requires the agreement of the
user to store and use certain personal information (not sure on what can
be used then, but at least a login).
		For the above this means that we have to allude to the
needed permission by the user.

		 

		-- Kai
Received on Monday, 28 July 2008 16:29:46 UTC

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