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The hot, confusing mess that is digital privacy — Tech News and Analysis
By Derrick Harris
Aug. 22, 2013

It’s all about how you use it

OK, so we should regulate how companies use data rather than what they can collect. That has been a big push from the technology industry, and it certainly makes more sense than limiting what’s gathered — especially considering that most rights to gather data are granted contractually (capitalists love contracts) and it’s just so easy to collect it. But how do you regulate usage?

Even if we make companies like Google and Facebook tell users how they’re using user data, there’s still the challenge of timing. Surely, we can’t expect companies to get consent from users every time they’re experimenting with some new product or new model using our data, right? That seems like it would be a pretty big hindrance on innovation — push your product ideas into the public eye or get slammed with penalties.

Further, granting real permission is based on having all the facts. “We’re going to use your personal data for targeted advertising” is a lot different than saying “We’re going to take your age, city, site behavior and — ooh, you signed in via Twitter — Twitter account info to predict that you’re black, white, rich, poor, healthy or suffering from herpes.” If we were to mandate the latter type of disclosure, would we expect consent every time a company’s data scientists reweighted the variables in their models or found some new correlations? Could we revoke permissions because something happened and our profiles suddenly look less appealing?
privacy  permissions  data  mydata  transparency  SLAs  customer_agreements 
april 2014 by jerryking

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