Sumit Sharma

Privacy and metadata capture

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I will now pen some thoughts down on THE issue I’m sure is eating all of you as I’ve talked about meta data and all that over the last few posts…

Capturing of metadata for users and providers will undoubtedly ruffle many feathers, especially regarding the so-called infringement of privacy. There is no doubt that this information can be used in a negative fashion, as with all other information captured in this world.

Addressing Privacy through a Governance framework

There are layers of privacy that need to be defined and once put into use, should be dynamically configurable. The frameworks in place should transparently, and conspicuously address metadata being captured. Ideally, for this to be possible, we should have a personal dashboard illustrating whatever metadata related to our lives is being consumed and with the flip of a switch we can have the ability to discontinue. If all users had a single integrated profile in the same way one’s SSN defines your tax profile to the IRS describing our activities in all planes it is conceivable that one day we shall have the ability to control what data about us gets consumed and not.

This will be one of the drivers of a single consolidated identity, and will drive the major website providers to form alliances and share APIs transparently amongst each other.

Of course this solution outlined about is wishful thinking, especially given that today incumbent providers hesitate to share data with each other since their business models depend on their possession of proprietary data. Short term solutions would be for websites and the physical entities that do capture metadata about our activities to send daily or weekly itemized summaries highlighting what information about us is publicly available. This would also be an excellent opportunity to slip in a few questions on what data we wouldn’t mind sharing, if its not already captured in metadata.


Written by Sumit

November 17, 2009 at 7:29 am

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