2010 Data Privacy Day

Apparently, yesterday was "Data Privacy Day", which you'd think as a practitioner of all things data (aka a Data Geek) I'd know, but I didn't until I stumbled on that link, shame on me...

Sometime ago I found the following page which I found interesting. Conceptually I agreed with the spirit with the goals this writer and organization are trying to achieve. I had a hard time agreeing with however some of the "Principles" illustrated as I'm not sure at this point they are achievable. I guess "that's how I roll", probably a character flaw as I might agree with your theory - but if I think it is unachievable then I have a hard time getting completely on board.

1) People should own their own data
People should have full control over the use of any data that they generate...
This is just plain not feasible in this technology world we live in. "Data" generated from people could be anything from web-stream clicks to images captured on a security camera at a coffee shop. Most likely the best implementation of this principle which could be achieved would be to allow web applications to "anonymize" web-stream click data so that all Personal Identifiable Information (PII) is removed from the data and this data is annotated as "anonymized".

2) People have a right to privacy
I couldn't agree more. I'm a private guy and I don't want things like my "Wii Sports Age" getting posted online to all those in CyberSpace (72??? I paid $200 to have a machine tell me I'm as fit as a 72 year old?).
Best implementation here would be to enforce applications to only require folks to provide the bare minimum information required to interact with the application. After they've interacted with the system, folks using the system should be able to "anonymize" the records as best they can.

3) People should receive a meaningful benefit in exchange for sharing data
Again, couldn't agree more. Nothing more annoying then having to "register" just to read something online or download a white paper. I'd much rather have advertisements flashing on my screen then have to tell someone the "color of my first bicycle" just to read something.

4) Aggregate anonymous location data should be used for common good
YES, please share! I still have that AOL search data which was leaked out a few years ago. Although not aggregated I use this sample data set and a few others to test theories and programs and all kinds of fun stuff. From my experience, there's no harm in sharing and posting aggregate data, but you'd be better off not posting the transactional data such as AOL did.

Happy (belated) data privacy day to all...Rich


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