Re: W3C Community Group comments

Thanks, Jeremy.  The purpose of this reference is not to denigrate  
other countries' privacy laws but emphasize two things:

1) how online behavior is closely associated with expressional  
freedoms and thus generally imbued with not only a privacy interest  
but also an expressional interest;

2) how hard it is to prevent the government from getting access to  
privately held data, a major issue in the US since 9/11, because  
companies are too willing to hand over personal data to the USG in the  
name of national security even when doing so violates US law.

On the first point, I welcome ways to make that point by reference to  
EU or Australian law.  My limited experience has led me to believe  
that online anonymity is more problematic in non-US legal regimes.

On the second point, I am definitely no expert on non-US privacy laws,  
but it's my understanding that even in the EU, personal data is not  
especially well protected against the government in the criminal  
context (I haven't reviewed the new draft EU data protection directive  
on criminal), and that there is no data protection directive or  
regulation in the national security context.

That said, I get your point about tamping the US-centrism, and we'll  
work on that.  Any suggestions from the EU, Australian, or other  
contexts would be very much appreciated.


On Dec 19, 2011, at 11:47 PM, Jeremy Malcolm wrote:

> On 20/12/11 07:45, John Simpson wrote:
>> From a U.S. legal perspective, the vast majority of what users do  
>> online is quintessential First Amendment behavioróreading, writing,  
>> speaking, and associating with others.  Such First Amendment  
>> activity enjoys significant constitutional protections against  
>> direct government interference (e.g., First Amendment law protects  
>> anonymous speech and privacy of association), but these protections  
>> can be circumvented when private actors keep records of online  
>> activity.
> On the other hand other regions and countries, such as the EU and  
> Australia, have much stronger privacy laws that *do* cover private  
> actors.  Since the W3C is not US-based and the DNT specification  
> will be global in reach, I'm not sure why the US First Amendment  
> needs to be mentioned in the second paragraph.  If anything, I would  
> instead talk up-front about the EU's Article 29 Data Protection  
> Working Party, which shows that the DNT specification needs to be     
> strongly consumer-focused if it is to be globally relevant at all.   
> In fact the comments do go on to say this.
> Otherwise I think that the draft comments are very good.
> I'm also reposting below two remarks from my last email to this  
> group in To and CC but which didn't actually go to the list so  
> weren't archived:
>> One of the issues that I have with the draft specification is with  
>> the introduction of the main document, which is written from  
>> industry's standpoint; eg. the rationale given for DNT is that "we  
>> don't want to offend the user because this leads to lost revenue",  
>> rather than "the user has certain privacy rights that we must  
>> respect".
>> There are also lots of unsourced statements such as "Advertising  
>> revenue is the single largest source of funding on the Web" - is  
>> this actually true?
> -- 
> Dr Jeremy Malcolm
> Project Coordinator
> Consumers International
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Lee Tien
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Received on Tuesday, 27 December 2011 01:28:26 UTC