Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Privacy: it's all about the information source

Listening to a presentation from Eric Gertler about privacy, it struck me that the root of the issues with privacy seems to be source definition. Who/what is the source of the information that I, as a consumer, am trying to evaluate?

Sure its about trust, but trust is not very solvable from a technological perspective. Information source definition is very solvable, be it email source validation, social peer review, or genuine twitter accounts. It seems to me that a lot of privacy debate is looking the wrong way: at securing your information assets, rather than providing tools that more readily enable you to validate the sources of information requests. Eg. the UK Data Protection act enables a consumer to obtain any information that a particular company may hold about them. But you have to know that that particular company holds data about you.

A solution that would help to get to the root of the privacy issue would be a non-profit service that tells you (and only you) which companies have information about you. It wouldn't know or tell you what information, only that companies x, y and z have some of your personal information.
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