Re: W3C TAG position on policy mechanisms for Web APIs and Services

Thank you very much for this thoughtful and detailed reply to our note.  I 
will bring the DAP working group's request for further assistance to the 
TAG, and will let you know shortly how members of the TAG would like to 
proceed.  Thank you very much

Noah Mendelsohn
W3C TAG co-chair

Noah Mendelsohn 
IBM Corporation
One Rogers Street
Cambridge, MA 02142

Frederick Hirsch <>
01/06/2010 11:16 AM
        To:     "ext" 
        cc:     Frederick Hirsch <>, W3C Device 
APIs and Policy WG <>,
        Subject:        Re: W3C TAG position on policy mechanisms for Web 
APIs and Services

Dear Noah and TAG members:

The Device APIs and Policy Working Group understands the importance 
of  privacy. The DAP WG  would like to ensure that privacy concerns 
are respected with the additional data that Web developers may obtain 
using DAP APIs. At the same time we recognize the importance of 
simplicity, ease of adoption, and the limit of the WG scope to API and 
policy development (and not the creation of an infrastructure).

The DAP WG is only beginning to consider the privacy topic and would 
appreciate all help it can obtain from anyone that can help us 
achieve  a good practical  result in a reasonable time. Our initial 
starting point will be to examine the decision of the Geolocation 
Working Group in more detail. This decision was *not* to include 
privacy rules as part of the API.  That decision is documented with 
the following  Geolocation WG resolution:

" If the proposal [to include policy rules as part of the API] was 
adopted, the browsers would end up showing the user an interface that 
appears to be a user-agent enforced privacy preference panel. 
However, since the privacy information is provided by the website, 
there is no way for the user-agent to ensure that the claims made by 
the website are actually true. This could result in the users being 
mislead by a  user-agent prompt. This would break the separation 
between the user-agent UI (which users trust) and the site content 
(which users don't necessarily trust) and would therefore undermine 
the user's trust in the user-agent, with extremely severe consequences 
for Web security."

While we intend to look at each of the assertions made in that 
resolution and see if and how they would apply to our own set of 
APIs, we would very much welcome the TAG’s perspective on that 

We would also appreciate TAG input on how the DAP WG can address 
privacy  concerns while limiting the scope to the API and policy 
aspects of its charter, and not presuming or creating a surrounding 

Thank you.


On behalf of the DAP WG

Frederick Hirsch and Robin Berjon, Co-Chairs

Note, This should fulfill DAP ACTION-73 (for Tracker's benefit)

On Dec 4, 2009, at 10:33 AM, ext wrote:

> To: The W3C Device APIs and Policy Working Group
> The W3C Policy Languages Interest Group maintains a Wiki [1] which
> contains real world cases where personal information has been 
> compromised
> due to inadequate policy or poor/nonexistent enforcement. One of these
> cases describes how Virgin Mobile used photos that it found on 
> Flickr in a
> national advertising program.  The photos appeared on large 
> billboards,
> much to the surprise of the owner and the subject.
> In the public mind, issues related to the management and protection of
> user information in Web Applications, Device access over the Web and
> Services provided over the Web loom large and must be addressed. 
> The TAG,
> therefore, urges working groups working in these areas to include in 
> their
> architectures the ability to communicate policy information so that 
> it can
> be used to determine correct access to and retention of user data and
> resources. Addressing these concerns should be a requirement, 
> although the
> details of how they are addressed may vary by application. For 
> example, a
> working group might provide mechanisms for including policy 
> information in
> API calls in a flexible manner, perhaps by using some more generalized
> extensibility mechanism.
> We note that there has been some dialog in this area.  In 
> particular, the
> IETF GeoPriv Working Group has requested [2] the W3C Geolocation 
> Working
> Group to add additional support for user privacy. There is a 
> discussion
> thread on this subject on the Geolocation Mailing list [3].
> Thank you very much.
> Noah Mendelsohn
> For the W3C Technical Architecture Group
> [1]

> [2]

> [3]

> P.S. Tracker:  this should fulfill TAG ACTION-318
> --------------------------------------
> Noah Mendelsohn
> IBM Corporation
> One Rogers Street
> Cambridge, MA 02142
> 1-617-693-4036
> --------------------------------------

Received on Wednesday, 6 January 2010 17:05:20 UTC