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Re: Privacy, Data Mashup's, and Practical Obscurity

From: Mischa Tuffield <mischa.tuffield@garlik.com>
Date: Wed, 5 Aug 2009 17:30:08 +0100
Cc: public-xg-socialweb@w3.org
Message-Id: <A0C19D65-EEA1-4CBB-A6B3-B313FFAF5C38@garlik.com>
To: Len Bullard <len.bullard@uai.com>
Thanks for your response, I am not from the US, and am not that aware  
of the laws, thanks for clarifying.

On 5 Aug 2009, at 16:43, Len Bullard wrote:

> No.

No to the notion that practical obscurity is dead/dying ?

> 1.  Magistrates and law enforcement agencies in the US have records
> management systems.  There are strict business rules implemented that
> prohibit publishing certain kinds of information to the web or even  
> within
> the departments.  While policies vary by location, much information
> collected does not qualify for publication to the web.  Sex offender
> registries are published as a side effect of Megan's Law.  Access for
> example to the NCIC is strictly controlled.

Ok, makes sense, I wonder what is stopping a new law called "Bob's  
law" being passed which would call for all crimes to be published to  
the public domain... Perhaps, someone with a grand theft auto  
convinction, which upon serving sentence committed a terrorist  
attack?!?! If you have served your sentence surely you are forgiven,  
and should be able to integrate back into society. Once again I am NOT  
advocating sex offences in ANY shape or form, am just painting a bleak  
future of what may yet come.

Given I was a US citizen, could I rock up to my local magistrate and  
read through all of the convictions made, is this information  
available to you physically in the court?

In the UK, you can sit in court all day watching cases go by, tweeting  
about the days events when you got home (or perhaps from your phone).  
I could imagine one setting up a society called "fathers tweeting  
local justice" or something, were by people take turns sitting in  
courts tweeting the results of all the judgements. My point being that  
pre interweb you would have had such a small audience through the  
transport mechanisms available to you that doing the above action  
would probably not expose the petty criminals to that many people. But  
now, you can tweet about it, and that information will be there for a  
long time and will be but a few clicks away.

> 2.  Social networks as forms of technology only change the media to  
> which
> something of this form might be published.   They are not different  
> from the
> printed notices send to neighborhoods when sex offenders register  
> their
> locations.

Understood, but this doesn't change my example of Bob committing a  
petty crime followed by Alice tweeting about it, hence putting it in  
the public domain forever (a la internet archive or something).

> 3.  That said, social network applications such as Facebook are  
> certainly
> used as Wide Area Notification Services and will be increasingly.    
> It is
> more likely that the WANS APIs will be integrated into the narrow  
> focus of
> Wide Area Alerting Systems such as health and emergency services  
> where a
> Facebook page could be registered as 'yet another device'.
> However, there is a conflict in the thinking of those who assert  
> that full
> transparency with respect to government records is an effective  
> means for
> all objectives.   Sealed records are a matter of practice and court  
> records
> as well as law enforcement system records are often secured for  
> reasonable
> and legal objectives

Agreed, there is a massive conflict here.

Thanks for you response very ensightful.

> len
> -----Original Message-----
> From: public-xg-socialweb-request@w3.org
> [mailto:public-xg-socialweb-request@w3.org] On Behalf Of Mischa  
> Tuffield
> Sent: Wednesday, August 05, 2009 10:18 AM
> To: public-xg-socialweb@w3.org
> Subject: Privacy, Data Mashup's, and Practical Obscurity
> Hello All,
> I have long been thinking about how the interweb affects the notion of
> practical obscurity and how one can no longer expect to be forgiven
> for a crime after they have served their sentence.
> An example I have used for a while now is the Georgia Sex Offenders
> mashup :
> http://www.georgia-sex-offenders.com/maps/offenders.php
> IMHO sites like the above one will just end up creating ghettos of sex
> offenders as real-estate agents start to adopt such online resources
> to help sell properties to future homeowners. Eventually we will see
> neighbourhoods of sex offenders as no family would ever choose to live
> next to a rehabilitated offender. The key word in the previous
> sentence being "rehabilitated", as they have been released by the
> judicial system into the community as reformed human beings.
> Now one can install an iPhone App, which tells the phone own about sex
> offenders in their local area, GPS/web magic, note that this only
> works in the US :
> http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/apple/5918923/iPhone-app-tracks-sex-of
> fenders.html
> I believe that practical obscurity is a dying concept. At this point
> in the post I should stress that I DON'T classify sex offences are
> petty crimes, but I believe that the advent of such data on the web
> will set a president for other forms of crimes to be being posted to
> the public domain. I can easily imagine a future where all crimes
> committed in some US state X are posted to the web.
> For example, high-school student Bob gets arrested for shop-lifting
> and gets a minor punishment that could be community service or
> something of a similar vain. Alice a classmate of Bob's finds this so
> funny that she posts it to whatever cool social network she is
> currently a member of, pushing it into the public domain. Now after
> Bob has served his sentence in pre-interweb days this information
> would have been practically obscure, it would have been logged in a
> filing cabinet in some local magistrate court, and unless you had the
> impetus to seek out this information you would probably never have
> found out about it. Alice would have been able to communicate the
> "funny story" to her social network, but those conversation's would
> not have been in the public domain. And now they would be.
> Well that is all from me, would love to know if people in the US have
> installed this APP, and wonder how many linch mobs are going to run
> around US cities taking following their trusty iPhone and taking the
> law into their own hands. Here is a link to an article whichoade
> describes some of the vigilantism which occured in the UK after the
> tabloid new paper "The News of the World" published a list of sex
> offenders in the year 2000. Do excuse the fact that I am pointing to a
> document on the "world socialist web site", but it seems to report the
> story well :)
> http://www.wsws.org/articles/2000/aug2000/brit-a12.shtml
> Does anyone else in the group have similar fears/interests or aware of
> any work which touches on practical obscurity and the social web ?
> Regards,
> Mischa *has turned this into a blog post : http://bit.ly/sMp4t
> _________________________________
> Mischa Tuffield
> Homepage -http:/mmt.me.uk/
> FOAF - http://mmt.me.uk/foaf.rdf#mischa
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Mischa Tuffield
Homepage -http:/mmt.me.uk/
FOAF - http://mmt.me.uk/foaf.rdf#mischa

Received on Wednesday, 5 August 2009 16:30:46 UTC

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