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Re: Action-101: Revise text for Issue-6, What are the underlying concerns?

From: Haakon Bratsberg <haakon.bratsberg@opera.com>
Date: Fri, 24 Feb 2012 14:14:53 +0100
Cc: Nicholas Doty <npdoty@w3.org>, public-tracking@w3.org, John Simpson <john@consumerwatchdog.org>, "Aleecia M. McDonald" <aleecia@aleecia.com>, Matthias Schunter <mts@zurich.ibm.com>, Thomas Roessler <tlr@w3.org>
Message-Id: <69CF4CEF-1E03-4151-836D-1BA4E449AB58@opera.com>
To: Rigo Wenning <rigo@w3.org>
I think the proposed express the underlying concerns about tracking and privacy. 

Some comments: 

- Do not forget Samuel D. Warren who co-authored "The Right to Privacy"
- Agree that Alan Westin's book "Privacy and Freedom" from 1967 was the start of 
  the next round of privacy discussion that ended up with legislation for example
  in Norway. 
- But; the thinking around privacy as evolved since late 60s/early 70s. We should
  probably include a more recent, acknowledged definition. I'll think about it, 
  but no good candidate spring to mind that is globally acceptable. 
  - I'm probably a biased Norwegian, but I kind of like the definition proposed 
    by Selmer and Blekeli in 1977: Privacy is the legitimate interest of a person 
    to control the collection and use of information that relates to him/herself.
    (Data og personvern" p. 21, Universitetsforlaget, Oslo).  


On Feb 23, 2012, at 10:48 PM, Rigo Wenning wrote:

> Here is my proposed text: 
> ==================================
> Privacy as first mentioned by Louis Brandeis in 1890 is the right to be left 
> alone. But Privacy is also the term used by Alan Westin in 1967. And here, 
> Privacy is about large dossiers about people in computers that are used to 
> make decisions about those people. And this triggered a discussion about the 
> autonomy of decision making of the individual in a completely computerized 
> society that is ongoing since then. And this Specification is a very part of 
> that discussion. 
> The fear is that by having large profiles about people, identified or 
> identifiable, there may be two phenomena: 
> 1/ Direct influence 
> The government may have access to such profiles and gain too much information 
> about citizens. This information is then used to influence opinions in a 
> certain direction. But it could also be used to identify and target the 
> leading intellectuals and their networks.
> 2/ Self constraining and self censoring
> Every one of us is trying to maintain a certain image to the outside world. 
> The success of social networks shows that many people really care about their 
> image. But everyone of us has also sides that do not match the image we try to 
> convey. This may be a disease, this may be a certain part of our character. If 
> we do not know, what others know about us, how could we forge our image? Many 
> people assume that the outside world knows more than it really knows. Once 
> people realize what the big unknown may know about them, they start to worry. 
> This leads to a self constraint behavior to avoid further collection. Less 
> searches. Searches only for non sensitive things. Having AIDS a person 
> wouldn't look at AIDS pages anymore. People would not look at controversial 
> information and opinions anymore. The fear has hampered the opinion building. 
> So not the profile itself created the bad effect, but the imagination about 
> what those profiles could contain and be used for. With the addition of some 
> high publicity cases and some running urban myths, e.g. accidentally being on 
> a no-fly list or the like, the fear establishes itself in large portions of 
> society. And this has the potential is to seriously hamper the opinion 
> building that is so crucial for a democratic society. 
> ==================================
> Hope this explains why I sometimes say: We kill our democracies by accident. 
> Because I don't think people creating those large profiles today are really 
> aware of the psychological dangers they create. It's all only about 
> advertisement, isn't it? It isn't actually, so let's work that it is again.
> I think this text would also benefit from a review by a native english 
> speaker.
> Rigo
> On Saturday 11 February 2012 19:12:40 Nicholas Doty wrote:
>> On Feb 11, 2012, at 12:57 PM, Rigo Wenning wrote:
>>> 2/ While the consumer-protection aspect is clearly stated, the
>>> protection of democracy aspect is not clear and is hidden in the "human
>>> rights" statement.
>> Rigo, do you want to suggest some text to explain the democratic concern?
>> From my part, some text we came up with in one of our small groups in 
> Brussels may be relevant to this enumeration/elaboration of privacy concerns:
>>> * Experiencing targeting based on data about me from unexpected sources.
>>> (In many cases, large profiles of data about me or people like me
>>> already exist, compiled from either online or offline data.) *
>>> Retention of browsing history data by unexpected sources.
>> Thanks,
>> Nick
Received on Friday, 24 February 2012 13:15:34 UTC

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