Privacy: Is it time for a revolution?

was tweeting/ lsw meebo rooming during panel presentations. see bloggers (kate, etc) for reports

hmm….panel just got asked what’s at stake for protecting privacy

Beth Givens says we’ll lose our privacy if we don’t speak out. Uses Minority Report as example…

Roth: What happens when we develop into a nation of niches? because of loss of privacy and specialized ad serving

Cory Doctorow – giant databases of info are toxic – copying, info is immortal

Roth: no one knows what to do with info they’re collecting. if something is going to happen it needs to happen now.

Beth: 50%+ use facebook, google, etc as hiring decision influencers – law is silent

cory: regulate way info is used, teach people how to use info. build skinner box to reward people for guarding their privacy & being safe/smart online ( has added this in…)

Roth: consumers don’t have any idea why they should care about privacy

Beth: gaining access to your profiles is important (like to credit report) so you can check data. Data broker industry is unregulated. Right of access legislation very difficult to pass (want law as robust as fair credit reporting act)

“Data Valdez” – happening over and over (Tracked on her org’s website –

Cory – SkipXIP – login manager to fake registrations, etc; writes deceased on direct mail

Kate- is it feasible, practical, etc, to make yourself invisible (cash only, etc)

Beth: you can do it, but must rely on someone else to do things (like take your mail, etc)

Cory: green can be glorious; privacy can be sybaritic (luxurious)

Roth – figure out what you’re giving away and what you’re not – incomprehensible privacy agreements

Beth – known access (but wouldn’t this require a centralized database – or list? That scares me more than having data scattered everywhere)

Cory – minimal logging as default setting in Apache would lead to radically different world; FF could do more to surface what happens to data when it leaves website; Linux could do better with privacy settings

Cory – password reading robot; something disclosing everything you just told the world via web would be very powerful

Beth: friend working on game called PrivacyMatters; creative ways to educate and inform people is good thing libraries are already doing

kate: libraries get asked for information that we don’t track b/c of privacy concerns on our end

cory- demand better privacy stuff from vendors and the tech is there to do those

Audience questions:

**What kind of arguments can we make to admin of institutions that protecting privacy is cost-effective?
Beth – scare tactics – more you collect the more you’re liable for $$ cleanup (larry ponemon- calculated data breach costs)
Cory – best way to avoid breach is not to have data

**As a consumer, i felt as if i was able to control personal id info and leave less around before 9/11 and before buying a house, but now i feel that it’s everywhere. any tips to help reduce amount of data leaving around?

Beth – start young and create trust fund for holding property, PO box and only PO box
Cory- 3 things – take control of tech (OS software, jailbreaking DRM); take control of debate (learn stats about rare occurrences & how things don’t make us safe)

**Question about surveillance and society – after 9/11 increased access by us gov to records of various kinds. wants to hear more on privacy and gov’t and things like that because bigger danger is more like social control – how much safer are we if gov’t knows what people are reading?

Roth: people are trying to say that post 9/11 increased info has not made us safer; may not reach golden age of full privacy, but people asking questions

Cory – safety & security are not platonic universals with single definitions. if safer from terrorists, are you safe from gov’t? saying that we are taking away freedom and safe from abusive gov’t is non-american principle

**Cult of celebrity – cool to divulge information, needs to be shift for us to eucate people about what future will be like if you don’t think about consequences of giving out that much info

Beth – PSAs showing how uncool it is to spread info is good idea
Roth – daughter of very secretive billionare kept 2 yr very detailed online journal that enabled roth to approach him and say what he knew about the billionare

**transparency and privacy ebb & flow across history, will never have absolute. need to assert positive rights to protect selves as well as defending privacy

Cory – a lot to be said for encouraging people to notice things ,not let it fade into background

blogger – demystifying media- it’s okay not to believe MSM all the time and work on

**useful for us to look at successes of ecology mvmt and piggy back on how it evolved. maybe haven’t reached financial point yet – information footprint/handprint

roth – real problem convincing people not to buy into stuff that they want to do (facebook, google toolbar) – need alternatives

cory – privacy represents adversarial relationship b/t people and corporations – 3rd alternative – while lobbying for legislation, use technology to protect privacy

**how to work with IT people to have them understand concern and work with us
how can we persuade systems designers to work with us?

cory – vendors believe strongly in privacy for selves; get them to expand universe of privacy they want to protect

**EFF has program called TOR to anonymize web surfing (started with office of naval intelligence)

Final words:

take survey at
follow privacyala on twitter to keep up w/revolution


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