CAT | Online Privacy
The Importance of Privacy & The Power of Anonymizers: A Talk With Lance Cottrell From Ntrepid — The Social Network Station A recent interview I did, talking about data anonymization and mobile device privacy. Lance Cottrell is the Founder and Chief Scientist of Anonymizer. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
The recent ruling by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has re-ignited debate about the “right to be forgotten”, or perhaps more accurately the right to have certain information purged from the Internet. While this right provides some real privacy benefits, it runs up against free speech and jurisdictional problems.
Here are seven conundrums around the right to be forgotten and the recent ECJ ruling:
- The ECJ ruling provides for removing search results, but not for removing the underlying web page. In the case in question, a newspaper article is allowed to stay on-line, but a search on the plaintiff’s name must not return a link to that page.
- While the search result would be removed when the search is the person’s name, other searches for the information would show that link.
- The ECJ does not give you a right to remove anything harmful or embarrassing to you, only information “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant, excessive in relation to the purposes of the processing”
- You don’t have a right to have certain information forgotten if that is newsworthy and noteworthy. In other words, if this was likely to be searched for by a lot of people, then you can’t remove it.
- The ECJ ruling only applies to EU residents . If you are outside the EU, or using a search engine outside the EU then you don’t have this right.
- The ECJ ruling only applies to search engines operating in the EU. If the search engine is exclusively operating outside the EU, or is being accessed from outside the EU, then the search results would still be visible. This means that you would get the search results if you were using Anonymizer Universal from within the EU.
- The tools and laws used to enforce the right to be forgotten are very similar to the techniques used for censorship by repressive regimes. Once in place, the urge to use the power more broadly has been irresistible to governments that obtain it.
We have seen interesting experiments and studies where researchers have looked at what people are willing to pay to protect their privacy.
This then would be the opposite experiment. A company called Datacoup is offering people $8 per month to give them access to all of their social media accounts, and information on their credit and debit card transactions.
You certainly can’t fault them for being covert about their intentions. They are saying very directly what they want and offering a clear quid pro quo.
I don’t think I will be a customer, but it will be very interesting to see if they can find a meaningful number of people willing to make this deal.
This is refreshing. Some evidence that most people ARE actually willing to pay for privacy. If the market shows that this is a winner, we might start to see more privacy protecting applications and services.
The real question is whether invading your privacy generate more revenue than what we are willing to pay to be protected.
AT&T thinks that Austin, TX residents will sell their on-line privacy for less than $20 per month.
AT&T is launching a service called U-verse with GigaPower, which will provide 300Mbps of bandwidth to the home initially, increasing to 1Gbps in 2014. The cost of the service is $99 per month, but they have a special offer.
If you sign up for the Premier plan you can get the service for $70 per month. Additionally a bunch of setup and install fees are waived and you get free HBO. If you follow the footnote on the offer, you will see that Premier is only available if you agree to participate in the “AT&T Internet Preferences” program.
This invites AT&T to monitor your Internet usage to better profile you and so more effectively target ads at you.
GIGAOM reports that AT&T says “we will not collect information from secure (https) or otherwise encrypted sites, such as online banking or when a credit card is used to buy something online on a secure site. And we won’t sell your personal information to anyone, for any reason.”
I am pleased that they are not doing active man in the middle attacks on customer encryption, but that is a very very low privacy hurdle.
So, is $20 per month enough for you to allow AT&T to monitor, record, and monetize everything you on the Internet? Let me know if the comments.
Of course, if you use Anonymizer Universal for all of your on-line activity, there is nothing for them to see.