Re: ACTION-397 Frame discussion on Geolocation and Geoprivacy

More on privacy:  Government access and personal access:
All the best, Ashok

ashok malhotra wrote:
> Richard Barnes, who is co-chair of the IETF Geoprivacy WG contacted me 
> after reading my comment on
> the Geolocation action in the minutes.  I had a telcon with Richard 
> and Mark Linsner of Cisco and they briefed me
> on their interactions with the Geolocation WG, and we discussed the  
> model they are recommending..
> As you know, the Geopriv folks made a comment on the LCWD of Geolocation.
> The response is at
> and includes the words:
> "Both proposals met significant resistance in the working group and 
> the decision was taken not to adopt either of them."
> John Morris of the Center for Democracy and Technology also made 
> similar Last Call comments which
> were also turned down.  John responds in 
> by saying "that the process was deeply flawed, and that the 
> substantive result represents a missed opportunity for the W3C to live 
> up to the high standards that it previously sought to achieve."  but 
> he does not want to delay the spec any further
> The text re. privacy at the start of the WD has been strengthened but 
> the issue continues to rankle.
> The Geopriv folks have prepared a proposal [1] that includes the 
> ability to transmit user-defined rules along with
> the location information.
> A recently published paper on Geolocation and privacy [2] says:
> "But though these requirements are normative sections of the 
> specification, they are not functional require-
> ments that directly in influence how the API works. None of these 
> notices are communicated as part of API
> calls, and none of these requirements are enforced by the user agent 
> (as a practical matter, it is impossible
> to enforce them, because the API does not provide any way in which 
> this enforcement could be supported).
> Instead, web sites are expected to use the HTML content of their own 
> pages to make details about collection,
> usage, storage and access clear to their visitors. The specification 
> does not detail any particular interface
> or language requirements and no de-facto standards exist. Web sites 
> vary in their implementation of these
> rules and very often fall short;..."
> The authors of the paper investigated 22 Websites that used the 
> Geolocation API.  They say
> "Out of 22 instances, not a single web site informed users of their 
> privacy practices with respect to collected
> location data up front, that is, before they were presented with a 
> prompt for their location. As a result,
> we suspect that virtually no users encountering the W3C Geolocation 
> API are fully informed about the
> requesting site's information practices when they decide whether or 
> not to reveal their location."
> The paper does a good job of surveying the landscape of privacy policy 
> and available privacy models. In the end, it makes four 
> recommendations re. the Geolocation API.  Two of these are very 
> similar to the
> Geopriv recommendations:
> - To be able to send location information at various granularities. - 
> Add functional requirements to allow machine- and human-readable 
> notices to be sent along with each
> request for user location.  As an alternative they recommend the 
> Geopriv model where privacy rules are
> transmitted along with the location information.
> The New York Times article [3] on privacy research features the work 
> of Lorrie Faith Cranor who was the
> chair of the W3C P3P WG.  The direction they are taking is to write 
> software to detect when information is being
> requested that would compromise privacy.  When it detects this, a 
> pop-up appears and warns the user who
> could abort the request.  But this too, would have to be implemented 
> by the browser vendors.
> Richard and Mark informed me that John Morris from the Center for 
> Democracy and Technology was
> going to testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Feb 
> 24.  They think (fear?) that
> Congress will impose some rules to protect privacy, like they did with 
> VOIP and 911 calls and we will
> have to live with them for better or for worse.
> So, I think this issue will continue and gather momentum.  For example,
> OASIS has started a privacy management mailing list: 
> which a preliminary to forming an OASIS TC.
> As an architectural principle, sending privacy rules along with the 
> data seems to be gaining adherents.
> Perhaps we can standardize on that.
> [1]
> [2]
> [3] 

Received on Wednesday, 31 March 2010 23:37:47 UTC