Posted by: Clarinette | August 5, 2010

Privacy, control and transparency

My Twitter friend Susan Lyon said once, the trouble with working on privacy is you are easily suspected of paranoia.
Could it be due to the use of an inappropriate terminology?
What I mean by ‘privacy’ is not ‘secrecy’, I mean ‘control’. Control over the spread and the processing of personal data.
The subject is high on the news. After the WSJ article contested by Jeff Parvis on cookies and the collect of information, this week, WSJ has published a series of articles.
An article by Julia Angwin and Jennifer Valentino, ‘The Information That Is Needed to Identify You: 33 Bits‘ , yep, the question is: ‘How many pieces of information are needed to identify an individual?‘ the answer comes: ‘In the field of re-identification science, it’s 33 “bits’ As Paul Ohm worries wait, ‘that as technology improves, it will lead to a “database of
ruin…
”. A conservative view, yes, maybe, shall we take the risk?

In another article, the WSJ titles: ‘On the Web’s Cutting Edge, Anonymity in Name Only‘ Big focus on Privacy !
Let’s have a quick look on the news:

What Google knows and can harm:
Finding illegal pools with Google Earth | Google Earth Blog
http://www.gearthblog.com
The town of Riverhead, NY, located on Long Island, has recently started using Google Earth to track down backyard pools that don’t have the proper license…

You are telling me Google is detecting fraud and why should this be bad?

Have a look at this: SC Magazine reports a new Facebook scam : ‘users to click on a link purportedly showing a “shocking video” of a girl being attacked by a shark. Instead, the link leads to a FB page with malicious links that, once clicked on, signs victims up as a fan of the page

Not everyone click on link without thinking?

What about public transport?
We are learning today that the Hong Kong train Company – which I used this summer, one of the cleanest, modern and most efficient I had seen – has sold users info to Insurance companies for HK$44 million.
Hong Kong’s Privacy Laws Slammed After Octopus Fiasco
Information surfaced last month that Octopus Holdings Pty. had sold two million personal data records to six insurance companies, without obtaining the users’ direct consent.

Shenzhen in China, has an identical train and payment system.

Is this too far away?
What about the London Underground and others, any better?
The London Oyster card states in its privacy Policy: they can ‘Disclose data for the purposes of crime prevention and detection.’

Now, do you remember Jean Charles de Menezes?
The guy who was shot at a Tube station after police mistook him for a bomber? Yep, a fatal mistake.

If you think You’ve Done Nothing Wrong, Do You Have ‘Nothing to Hide’? –
read the article:
A few years back, I did a long newspaper story about the FBI snooping on the private records of ordinary citizens. As my old editor Michael Kinsley likes to say, the scandal is what’s legal.

Following the same idea, I really like Dan Solove’s essay: ‘I’ve Got Nothing to Hide’ and Other Misunderstandings of Privacy

What makes the control over data more problematic in the digital world, is the speed and the ease of spread. But that’s not all.
Remember — the Internet never forgets</em>’ . Mistakes, confusion but no oblivion. How many homonyms do you have? How do they behave?

It’s not just internet that can’t forget, computers are not much better. Think you deleted and it’s gone?
Wait! I deleted that. You can’t see that! “-

Mobile info are increasing in volume. Smartphones are great to store and access all data at anytime, anywhere. Yep, accessible but to whom? only you? not just some governments want them, also….

Another WSJ, this time by JUSTIN SCHECK, reports: ‘Stalkers Exploit Cellphone GPS
GPS tracking technology used by many phone companies has unexpectedly made it easier for spousal abusers to track their victims.

This is just a compilation of recent articles to raise awareness on what is collected and how it can be processed.

Don’t you think we need more transparency, not by encouraging openness and divulgation of personal information but more on what companies do with our data?

Not convinced yet?
Have a look at: ‘Infographic of the Day: How Your Favorite Websites Spy on You

‘Online privacy and building reputations: Q&A with Professor Turow of UPenn

WSJ Tracking Story Riles Industry, Arms Privacy Advocates

On the Web’s Cutting Edge, Anonymity in Name Only

My Work at CITP This Year: Judicial Policy, Public Access, and The Electronic Court

RIM Helps Russia, China Monitor BlackBerry Users’ E-mails

Eric Schmidt: Every 2 Days We Create As Much Information As We Did Up To 2003

Report: RIM Agrees to UAE Monitoring Request

Numérique : tous en liberté surveillée ?

‘”Leaked” data of 100M Facebook users came from public info

Online Advertisers Defend Industry Amid Web-Privacy Debate

More on pearltrees (roll on to see the title, click each pearl to open the link to read the article)

Fading data could improve privacy, Dutch researcher Dr Harold van Heerde suggests, gradually “degrade” the information that sites gather about visitors.

Should we own our own data?

Should Companies Sell Privacy Offsets?

The EU privacy regulator want devices to come with data-wipe function.

Before you even click, a visual by The Future of Privacy Forum.


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