Marching Along – Privacy Forward

A bunch of folks, including Alex Fowler, Sid Stamm, and Mike Hanson to mention only a few, did some nice work developing Mozilla’s comments on the FTC’s  proposed privacy framework.  More details, including the comments, are available on the mozilla.com blog.

I’m still reading through some of the responses, and it’s really interesting seeing the diverse perspectives. Some saying the creation of a comprehensive US privacy framework will stifle innovation, leading to economic collapse and ruin, others suggesting the FTC hasn’t gone far enough.  (+1 to an open government process with a robust debate and competing ideas)

One theme that seems to pervade the narrative unfortunately is the notion that doing right by the user from a privacy perspective is somehow hostile to innovation and business.  This is a false paradigm. (We saw the same themes in the net-neutrality debate, but that’s a different story.)  Innovating in services, managing information while being user centric and respectful aren’t competing values in my view.  What’s right for the user doesn’t mean being hostile (or captive) to commercial motivations, nor should it mean rolling over to the great data slurp in the cloud.

As Eben Moglen recently reminded us, the web is young – some 7,000+ days young.  Thus, there’s so much more to come, and we can’t drive by looking in the rear view mirror.  So when I look forward, and see some of the ideas kicking around that give users both the benefits and control of their information in a “privacy forward” way, within and outside the Mozilla community,  I see lots of opportunity and innovation.

This is pretty exciting, and on a good day, I feel lucky to observe and participate.

One Response to Marching Along – Privacy Forward

  1. Michael B says:

    I think that the government should regulate as little as possible and when it is necessary to regulate, they shouldn’t be to specific. This way, if a better idea comes along, it could be implemented without red tape from the government. The main thing that’s really lacking right now is adequate disclosure and (I think) a requirement for websites to notify subscribers of privacy policy changes (because I think websites are already required to provide full disclosure on their privacy policy). Government could just pass a law or regulation saying that all required disclosure information must be short, simple, and easy to understand for laypeople. That’s only a couple lines of law or regulation and the private sector could figure out how to do it from there. I think Mozilla’s proposal of the privacy icons would be a great way for firms and web sites to do this and they would be more willing to adopt it. Anyway, thanks for your work. Good luck fighting the good fight.