W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-webid@w3.org > October 2012

Re: privacy definitions -- was: WebID questions

From: Melvin Carvalho <melvincarvalho@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 16 Oct 2012 14:00:08 +0200
Message-ID: <CAKaEYh+DFd2ivowCSBWtF_=JgD0J9_tOC64d5e345u7HcodEYg@mail.gmail.com>
To: Ben Laurie <benl@google.com>
Cc: Henry Story <henry.story@bblfish.net>, "Jonas Hogberg K.O" <jonas.k.o.hogberg@ericsson.com>, "public-philoweb@w3.org" <public-philoweb@w3.org>, "public-webid@w3.org" <public-webid@w3.org>, Oshani Seneviratne <oshani@mit.edu>
On 1 October 2012 15:36, Ben Laurie <benl@google.com> wrote:

> On 1 October 2012 14:07, Henry Story <henry.story@bblfish.net> wrote:
> >
> > On 1 Oct 2012, at 14:35, Ben Laurie <benl@google.com> wrote:
> >
> >> On 1 October 2012 13:20, Henry Story <henry.story@bblfish.net> wrote:
> >>>
> >>> On 1 Oct 2012, at 13:43, Ben Laurie <benl@google.com> wrote:
> >>>
> >>>> On 30 September 2012 20:22, Henry Story <henry.story@bblfish.net>
> wrote:
> >>>>>
> >>>>> On 30 Sep 2012, at 20:46, Ben Laurie <benl@google.com> wrote:
> >>>>>
> >>>>>> On 30 September 2012 10:30, Henry Story <henry.story@bblfish.net>
> wrote:
> >>>>>>>
> >>>>>>> On 29 Sep 2012, at 19:50, Ben Laurie <benl@google.com> wrote:
> >>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>> On 28 September 2012 15:26, Jonas Hogberg K.O
> >>>>>>>> <jonas.k.o.hogberg@ericsson.com> wrote:
> >>>>>>>>> At
> >>>>>>>>>
> http://blogs.kuppingercole.com/kearns/2012/09/25/in-search-of-privacy/?goback=.gde_3480266_member_168314336
> ,
> >>>>>>>>> Dave Kearns writes:
> >>>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>>> There is indeed a lot of confusion about the subject, but there
> are two key
> >>>>>>>>> phrases to remember when talking about privacy:
> >>>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>>> Privacy is not anonymity
> >>>>>>>>> Privacy is not secrecy
> >>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>> Quoting those out of context is not particularly helpful. But for
> more
> >>>>>>>> on why anonymity is important for privacy...
> >>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>> http://www.links.org/?p=123
> >>>>>>>> http://www.links.org/?p=124
> >>>>>>>
> >>>>>>> Looking at those two, can we agree that we agree that anonymity
> should be the default?
> >>>>>>> I believe as you do that when I go to a web site the default
> should be that I not be
> >>>>>>> identified, and not be tracked. I can choose later to be tracked
> or identified for
> >>>>>>> that site for a given amount of time or until I change my mind,
> but the default should
> >>>>>>> be anonymity.
> >>>>>>>
> >>>>>>> ( Within limits of logic of course. If I tell anonymous Y
> something P
> >>>>>>> which has consequence Q, and some other anonymous Z does something
> with Q that would have
> >>>>>>> been nearly impossible to know had they not known P, then I could
> conclude within
> >>>>>>> a certain probability that  Y == Z )
> >>>>>>>
> >>>>>>> The web provides this. Some browsers provide it better than
> others, but really
> >>>>>>> this is up to them. It is not perfect: ip addresses can be tracked
> and dns lookups
> >>>>>>> can be tracked. But the web is not reliant on those. It could be
> deployed just as well
> >>>>>>> on top of Tor. Had people had better memories, we could have had
> .onion urls plastered
> >>>>>>> on bus stops since the beginning.
> >>>>>>>
> >>>>>>> Anonymity is important for many reasons. Among which is that it
> helps create a trusted
> >>>>>>> public sphere. It increases my trust in the information I read if
> I know that the publisher
> >>>>>>> publishes that information that can be read by anonymous readers.
> Knowing that the publisher
> >>>>>>> cannot tell who is reading what he is publishing is a very strong
> guarantee that he
> >>>>>>> is not adapting his message to different groups. Oddly enough
> anonymity has an important role
> >>>>>>> therefore in public discussion.
> >>>>>>>
> >>>>>>> So do we agree here? I think we do.
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>> So far.
> >>>>>
> >>>>> ok. So let's see if we can agree further, from here :-)
> >>>>>
> >>>>> There are a number of identification options available.
> >>>>> Let me list some of them:
> >>>>>
> >>>>> - anonymous ( 0 identification )
> >>>>> - cookies   ( site bound )
> >>>>> - TLS-Origin-Bound-Certificates ( unforgeable cookies )
> >>>>> - Self-Signed certificates with an .onion WebID
> >>>>>       ( I promised Appelbaum to work on that. This gives you an
> identity, but nobody knows
> >>>>>         where you or your server are located )
> >>>>> - Self-Signed certificates with a http(s) WebID
> >>>>> - CA Signed Certificates
> >>>>> - DNSSEC Signed Certificates
> >>>>> - ...?
> >>>>>
> >>>>> We agree that anonymous should be the default.
> >>>>> I think we can agree as a matter of simple fact that none of the
> browsers show
> >>>>> you which of those modes you are in when looking at a web page. You
> cannot
> >>>>> as a user therefore tell if you are anonymous or not. You cannot
> therefore tell
> >>>>> if the page you are looking at has been tweaked for you or if it
> would appear
> >>>>> differently to someone else in the same mode as you. You cannot tell
> if the
> >>>>> agent on the other side can tie you to a browsing history or not.
> >>>>>
> >>>>> Well let me put this in a more nuanced way: you can tell the above
> from the
> >>>>> side-effects - say if they should you your profile on a google+ page
> with edit mode
> >>>>> allowed - but that is up to the server to show you that. We both
> want it to be
> >>>>> up to the user. We don't want it to be up to the user in some
> complicated conf file
> >>>>> hidden away somewhere. We both want it to be in your face,
> transparent. I should
> >>>>> in an eyeblink be able to tell if I am anonymous or not, and I
> should be able
> >>>>> to switch from one mode to the next if and when I want to in a
> simple easy gesture.
> >>>>>
> >>>>> Just as in real life when we put on a mask we know that we are
> wearing the mask,
> >>>>> so on the web we want to know what mask we are wearing at all times.
> >>>>>
> >>>>> These are the improvements I have been fighting ( not alone ) to get
> browsers to
> >>>>> implement. Are we fighting on the same side here?
> >>>>
> >>>> I agree that it is desirable to know how your browser is identifying
> >>>> you and to be able to switch between users. So, I guess Chrome would
> >>>> claim that the facility to have multiple users provides this. Do you
> >>>> disagree?
> >>>
> >>> I looked up multiple Users and found this:
> >>>  http://support.google.com/chrome/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=2364824
> >>> I had not seen this before.
> >>>
> >>> So it seems to work for certificates. I created a new user Tester, and
> >>> noticed the following as that Tester:
> >>>
> >>> 0. It did not have any of my bookmarks ( I suppose that's useful,
> cause your
> >>>   bookmarks could identify you )
> >>> 1. When I went to Google+ it did not know I was
> >>> 2. Having signed in to https://my-profile.eu/ as the old user, I
> tried as the
> >>>    new user Tester, and had to select a certificate again. Good.
> >>>
> >>> So that seems like one way to separate one's personalities. I'd still
> like to
> >>> have the url bar show me for each tab:
> >>>
> >>> [anonymous] when I am not logged in
> >>> [cookie] when I am tracked on that site
> >>> [henry story] for a local site identity
> >>> [bblfish@home] when I am using a certificate
> >>>
> >>> With the option of logging out from that site (ie checking x ->
> anonymous ). Because
> >>> currently I could forget that I had chosen a certificate on a site,
> and it
> >>> would continue sending it. Or I could mistakenly choose a certificate
> as one user,
> >>> and then decide that was the wrong user for that persona, and not be
> able to choose
> >>> the certificate again, without closing my browser completely. That
> would allow, on
> >>> browser startup, the browser to remember the last identity choice for
> a site. Without
> >>> logout capability that is not possible, because then it would be
> impossible to repair
> >>> an identity mistake without creating a new user. (And it makes testing
> tedious).
> >>>
> >>> Currently when I close my browser, on restart the servers ask me for
> my certificate again.
> >>>
> >>> So it looks like this is going generally in the right direction. It
> still does not provide
> >>> the transparency we are looking for at the UI level above. But thanks
> for pointing this out.
> >>>
> >>> So I think we agree that what is missing is the transparency at the UI
> level of which identity
> >>> one is using at each site. That is what I was hoping the following bug
> report would achieve.
> >>>
> >>> http://code.google.com/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=29784
> >>>
> >>> So perhaps by putting this forward under the term transparency, that
> would help that bug report
> >>> progress, since otherwise they could thing that the issue had already
> been completely solved.
> >>>
> >>> So that's what I make of that. But have I missed something? Or do we
> agree there too?
> >>
> >> I don't think so
> >> . As I said, I think that Chrome would claim that the
> >> users facility provides everything you need - if you want to know
> >> which cert you're using, then have a user per cert. As for cookies and
> >> "local site identities", this would require information the browser
> >> does not currently have, so I think you would first have to explain
> >> how it is going to get that information.
> >
> > Well the browser knows when it sends a cookie. So showing a [cookie]
> > icon would be easy there. When you are in anonymous mode it does not
> > send a cookie. (perhaps a no-cookie/cert icon - would be more precise)
> > As for per site identity that is what the Mozilla folks were working
> > with Aza Raskin
> >
> > http://www.azarask.in/blog/post/identity-in-the-browser-firefox/
> >
> > But until a standard is agree to there, one could already have
> > a [cookie] icon...
>
> Sure, but it would be pretty pointless: I just checked and every
> single tab I have open has some cookies associated.
>

Re cookies: I thought it was interesting new the launch of

http://data.gov.uk/

When you first load the site they give you an option of accepting cookies
or not.

If you say yes, you get a little "thank you", and an optional explanation
of what that means.

It's interesting to see a site that takes privacy seriously, is today, in
the minority.


> >> For anonymous, Chrome already has an anonymous mode (though note that
> >> you don't really stay anonymous for long once you enter it, since it
> >> must still use cookies or the 'net stops working - also bookmarks are
> >> still available in anon mode).
> >
> > As above the browser knows when it sends cookies: and so it can show
> > the user that it is doing that.
> >
> >>
> >> I believe that Chrome experimented with per-tab personas and found
> >> that it was a terrible user experience, btw.
> >
> > It does not look that bad in Aza Raskin's proposal, and the Account
> > Manager work at Mozilla
> >
> > https://wiki.mozilla.org/Labs/Weave/Identity/Account_Manager
> >
> > My guess is that the project to create the multiple user work
> > at Chrome trumped the development of good identity transparency
> > solutions. That often happens in engineering: one good idea
> > hides another one for a while.
>
> Or, as I said, it turns out to not work very well. That happens even
> more often, and apparently has happened in this case. Saying it
> doesn't look that bad to you doesn't change it!
>
> > In any case there is a lack of transparency in the multiple user
> > set up that still needs to be rectified. How that is done I'll leave
> > to UI experts. But I'll recognise a good solution whatever form it
> > takes.
> >
> > Now here with WebID we are assuming such a solution will be found
> > by one of the browser vendors in good time, and then adopted by the
> > others. The current interface  we can agree is not good enough for
> > sure, but the problems we are trying to  solve are  important enough
> > that we can work with the current limitations of browser.
>
> Who is the "we" that can agree it? And why is it not good enough? You
> have not explained that at all.
>
> > That leaves us with the importance of cross site identity. I think
> > I have a very powerful argument in favour of its importance. It is
> > important for a certain kind of privacy to be possible: that between
> > two people or groups of people wishing to exchange documents that
> > should only be visible to certain people and no others. This is the
> > case when someone wishes to discuss something with a doctor, or when
> > someone wishes to publish photos of people at a party without making
> > it fully public, and in many many other circumstances.  It is important
> > for creating a distributed social network, which I will call the
> > Social Web.  The Web and the internet have always been about distribution
> > and decentralisation of information. We want to do that using WebID in
> > a manner that increases privacy. I will be working on showing how
> > this can be done on the Web, and on the Web running over Tor.
> >
> > Henry
> >
> > Social Web Architect
> > http://bblfish.net/
> >
>
Received on Tuesday, 16 October 2012 12:00:39 UTC

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