Privacy in the flat world

Before you can talk, discuss and react to the privacy, it’s necessary to give a bright view on how the flat world works with your privacy. The next videos give an impression.

Recently, Governments in the US and EU are trying to get an online privacy legislation going.
It’s still a long way to go, but Danah Boyd (Microsoft and speaker at Harvard University) gives a bright inside regarding online privacy:

“Privacy isn’t about controlling functional access to content as much as knowing what to share when and how it will flow.”

If we start with this idea about a privacy definition for the flat world, we might get things started.

In my Blog Posts about App(le)s vs privacy, and Privacy in the flat world you will understand what I mean when we talk about online privacy.

The action should therefore be taken on a worldwide governmental level (or not?).
In an article in the E-Commerce Times the ambiguous role for both government and business are set side by side. The full article you can read here, the basic paradoxes and question are:

Should companies doing business online have to comply with a set of stringent rules enforced by government regulators?
Or should they be allowed to operate under the robust self-regulation they promise to implement?
Or should there be some type of hybrid arrangement that splits the differences between the two extremes?

These are some of the major issues the Obama administration is mulling as it develops its policy on Internet privacy, but then again this is only for US related subjects and the flat world is world-wide (this is most difficult part of legislation, since our legislation is organised per country/region and not flat world-wide – this is an extra challenge!).

  • “Self-regulation without stronger enforcement is not enough. Consumers must trust the Internet in order for businesses to succeed online.
  • The adoption of stronger and more comprehensive “Fair Information Practice Principles” by industry. Currently, FIPPs used in the commercial sector address notices to consumers about personal data collection; choice mechanisms allowing consumers to allow — or not allow — data collection and distribution; consumer access to collected personal data; the provision of data security by collectors; and privacy breach enforcement mechanisms. Enhanced FIPPS would constitute a “Privacy Bill of Rights,” and “should prompt companies to be more transparent about their use of consumer information; to provide greater detail about why data is collected and how it is used; to put clearer limits on the use of data; and to increase their use of audits and other ways to bolster accountability.”
    The next step would be incorporating the enhanced FIPPs into industry self-regulatory codes of conduct, which would be the primary regulatory mechanism, with an indirect and “back-up” role for the government.
  • The commercial tech sector is opposed to direct and exclusive regulation by the  government — but it appears it will tolerate a secondary role for the government. On the other hand, the  consumers oppose the hybrid self-regulation proposal. The consumer is in need of a good law a uniform rights which can be enforced (if needed). “

All these paradoxes and contradictory statements, forget to stand still at the first question: what privacy is wanted in the online world? Do we need to rethink the meaning of privacy. Read my blog post on this: Rethinking privacy in the online world, but what needs to be taken care of is what happens to the data, and therefore we need to introduce the term social web!

On a practical note, if you want to check your privacy setting or levels on Facebook, check next article. It includes 6 steps to check whether your account privacy settings are accurate.

2 comments on “Privacy in the flat world
  1. Very good explanation of what we should be aware of. Thank you for this.

  2. Olivier says:

    Thank for your explainations. I think however that the basic concept like real life has to match or to fit with “online life” has to be explained to the “digital natives”. They missunderstand sometimes many differences about what is private-life and what is public-life. You can not share everything on social networks, as you would not do it in real-life.

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