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Rough notes by Bill Densmore of a privacy panel at NCMR-Boston, April 9, 2011

Here are my very rough notes (taken on the virtual keyboard of an iPad) from a panel at the National Conference for Media Reform (NCMR) in Boston on April 9, 2011.

Three out of four of the session participants are listed and bios are linked from here:

  • The fourth panelist was Guilherme Roschke, also affiliated with Georgetown University School of Law.
  • As context, here's a roundup story on the increasing debate about privacy, from The Washington Post:

  • I have an audio of the NCMR panel and I'll create a link to it here when I get around to uploading it.
  • First Jeff Chester, then Lillie Coney, Guilherme Roschke. Introduced by Angela

Campbell, who then speaks last.

Jeff Chester, Center for Digital Democracy

  • Key issues around online marketing about the future of media.
  • Shows slides, intense personalized data collection system, analyzing who you


  • Not a privacy issue it is about fundamental for es, about

overcommercialization, shaping our identities. How do we create sustainable business models in this era?

  • Iab power structure. Facebook -- they sell you. Check out 360 concept
  • "A far reaching surveillance system is at the heart of the new media


  • Search on "brand safety". "individuals are now auctioned off in 20 milliseconds

to the highest bidder."

"this is not advertising as we have known know it . . . these are ads that learn about you and transform in real time."

  • "surveillance from Facebook."
  • Targetting your friends as influencers of you.
  • "we've been fighting this."
  • Cutting off the automatic data collection is the key. Going after the bad


  • "We're trying to drive the industry crazy and were having success."

Lillie Coney, Electronic Privacy Information Center

  • Disagrees with jeff only that it is all about privacy.
  • Personal information (PI) is what is unique to you. Battle is over who gets pi and how they use it.
  • Cites famous song lyrics: "Every breath you take, every move you make, every bond you break,every step you

take I'll be watching you." Secret wish of some government agencies.

Government developing national strategy

  • National strategy form trusted identities in cyberspace:
  • Coney says: Started with Feb. 1 Federal Register notice. "This is not good. This is a nanny cam and the Department of Homeland Security is going to be running it."

U.S. Chamber of Commerce strategy unveiling April 15

  • Coney says Chamber of Commerce -- Has national strategy for trusted identities to be announced

April 15

Coney: What to do

  • This is your opportunity to fight for your independence.

Guilherme Roschke, Georgtown Law School

  • Nature of the net -- everyone has an address. On computer person sending data needs to know who to send it to.
  • What appears to be an interaction with one entity can actually be an

interaction with several. He shows how one web page can have URLs that link to multiple other websites to project ads or widgets or merely to track what you are looking at.

  • With Facebook Like button: "Facebook now knows that you are looking at this Huffington Post website."
  • Technologies:
    • ip address and logs
    • Cookies, first and third party
    • Web bugs
    • Scripts
    • And more
  • Ip address disclosed each website, almost unique, not necessarily persistent,

often logged, can hide behind proxies.

  • Cookie is text file -- name and value pair or user id, first party remembers

when Youngstown, 3rd party remembers across sites.

  • Web bug notices you visited a site without you having to open. It "bugs" a


  • Scripts can pass data that identifies you.
  • Also: Flash cookies, not conteolledmby your browser, used to respawn cookies

after you delete them.

  • Mobile devices have a unique ID, fewer cookie controls, allows access to other

parts of phone.

Coney: Talks about privacy design -- Need to build it in from the r and d stage.


  • Questioner says there is a four minute video says people at the heart of

Facebook have CIA connections. Is that true?

  • Roschke: Government buys commercial data all the time. Who is in a company

doesn't really matter.

  • Digital redlining -- content tailored to somebody else's vision of you.

Angela Campbell, Georgetown Law School

  • Heads Institute for Public Representation, Georgetown University

School of Law

  • She asks: Have you rad the Facebook privacy policy?


"you could spend your whole day reading privacy policies ... It is really not possible for an individual to manage their online privacy....there is a need for legislation here. The industry is a little bit on the run....privacy is seen as bipartisan."

  • Europe and Canada have comprehensive privacy laws. Not in the United States

are only to address specific problems.

  • There is childrens online privacy protection act
  • FTC is proposing a privacy framework disclosure for common practices. But

where require they should be clear, short, standard, offered at time of decision, expressed consent when use of data is for different purpose, protections for sensitive users, and a do not track technology of some sort ... Operation unclear.

  • Dept of commerce and white house involved: Internet policy task force
  • Commercial data privacy and innovation
  • Want to revitalize fair info practices, increase transparency and limit use,

encourage voluntary codes of conduct.

Campbell: Action in Congress

  • HR611 is best practices act also HR654 by Stearns
  • In the Senate, Kerry/McCain circulating something

  • Coney: Not too late...big companies don't want to be in violation of the law.

Currently they work very hard at hiding what they are doing.

  • Chester: Can't undo basic business model of intensive data collection. "We can

limit it. What we are saying is individuals and consumers should have a choice about whether to opt in."

  • Questioner how about collecting publicly available data on public figures and

sending it to them?

  • Chester: "The business model is the integration of all these databases . . . it's your identity that's for sale in 20 milliseconds to the highest bidder."
  • Campbell: Behavioral model appealing to advertisers because it makes the

advertising more effective. But she is concerned about how it affects content. Certain web sites will get a lot of advertising and some won't. Also it can allow for discrimination.

Coney: Consider attending annual meeting on Computers, Freedom and Privacy. June 14-16.

  • Chester: It was a strategic error for progressives not to have been working on this in the 1990s when the technologies were being developed.

Chester: Obama trying to weaken privacy?

  • Chester: "And the Obama administration is actually trying to weaken privacy."

Trying to pass a law based on taking out the FTC, focus on self regulation and pre-emptying the states. He says this is what the Kerry/McCain draft is going to do.

Coney: "it wipes out the ability of the states."

Chester: The next frontier is mobile -- $42 billion being spent in 2011 on mobile digital advertising. thiet ke web gia re thiết kế web chuyên nghiệp thiết kế web giá rẻ thiet ke web chuyen nghiep

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