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certificates of anonymity

From: Dailey, David P. <david.dailey@sru.edu>
Date: Thu, 29 Jan 2009 20:02:16 -0500
Message-ID: <1835D662B263BC4E864A7CFAB2FEEB3D01525707@msfexch01.srunet.sruad.edu>
To: <public-html@w3.org>

I posted an extended version of this question [1] a few days back on www-archive, since I wasn't quite sure of the relevance or appropriateness of the question to our discussions here, and since my uncertainty caused me to ponder some procedural questions. However, those procedural questions actually end up tying in (at least in my mind) to some of the discussion going on about multiple versions of specs, about the nature of HTML, issue number 58, and other procedural issues that have since emerged here and on www-archive, which make the particular question I'm posing here beg a broader question I'll raise in a subsequent message. 
A couple of days ago, I read an article (dare I call it a blog) about the topic "White House Exempts YouTube from Cookie Policy" [2]

It made me wonder whether there was, in fact, any way for the federal government to provide streaming video without using technology such as You Tube or Hulu that apparently uses cookies to maintain state during a transaction? The use of those cookies, has apparently (argues the author of said article [2]) been contrary to federal rules about tracking information about citizens. In truth I don't know if what the White House wants to do could be done without use of 3rd party (Google/You Tube) software using cookies; I don't know how or if the use of cookies is important at some technical level to the delivery of consistent web broadcasts; I don't know the nature of these "federal rules." I also don't know if under the proposed HTML5, there would be any way for the language (HTML5) to be written so that an information provider such as the federal government could require its 3rd party software to offer "certificates of anonymity" within its transactions through the .gov site, insuring that 3rd party tracking cannot be performed; hence respecting whatever guidelines on privacy the government might wish to enforce. 

Perhaps the answer to this question would be obvious to all members of HTML WG who have followed the developments over these past many months. Maybe I am na´ve to pose the question. I can remember a time not so many months ago, when I was very reluctant to pose such a question for fear of wasting people's time with something obvious to everyone but me.
However, given what was, I think, at least prior to the Patriot Act, a prohibition of sorts on the federal government tracking the (possibly copyrighted) behavioral byproducts of its citizens, then that very same government is compelled, maybe, if it is to rely on third party software, to ensure that it is not inadvertently funding a third party's commission of the same (for a variety of reasons involving both privacy and intellectual property). 
So, is there a method under discussion in HTML5 for a third party site to issue a "certificate of anonymity" such that a second party requiring it (for whatever reason) might be able to rely upon and trust that certificate to ensure the web visitor's (the first party's) privacy?



(As I say, there is a broader question here which feeds back into other ongoing discussions in recent days that I will follow up upon shortly in another message.)
[1] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-archive/2009Jan/0021.html <http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-archive/2009Jan/0021.html> 
[2] http://news.cnet.com/8301-13739_3-10147726-46.html <http://news.cnet.com/8301-13739_3-10147726-46.html>  
Received on Friday, 30 January 2009 01:18:34 UTC

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