What is Privacy, Anyway? PrivacyOS in Berlin

I’m so happy to be in Berlin with Ian Brown and 4 OII doctoral students, at the European Privacy Open Space.  At the same time as the re:publica media conference, it’s a collection of lawyers/students/private sector vendors.

But what is privacy?  Talk #1 discussed data privacy in terms of its economic value.  Talk #2, by a Microsoft guy designing a U-Prove token, talks about privay as an interface between some one individual and service providers who need to know all kinds of things:  “miniumum disclosure tokens” that provide the ability to verify aspects of someone’s identity without having to tell everything.

More privacy definitions as the conference continues.

UPDATE:  Day 2

Technical presentation on “Selective Access Control in Social Networks” – social networking privacy is facilitated by a layer controlled by public key encryption.  So for example the same profile details would be released to different social networks

Human readable privacy policies – privacy is a set of relationships that individuals have to understand in order to do things (buy, sell, read, write) online.  Therefore, human readable privacy policies and iconography needs to be developed so that people understand where their information is going, who it will be used by, and how. (As Ian points out, if there is no competition, such a proposal wouldn’t be very effective as there would be no reason to choose a company with more easy to read privacy policies).

According to these presenters, privacy can be a negotiation, a layer, an interface or even a value proposition.  But is understanding what we trade off when we spend time online really the same as having the privacy of a home, or the anonymity of public space?  Lots to think about still.