Posted by: mikepearsonnz | October 14, 2010

All your data are belong to us

Creative Copyright Licences

Creative Commons Semaforoa

Image via Wikipedia

The Creative Commons initiative expands the range of creative works available for others to build upon legally and to share.  It has rapidly gained world-wide credibility.  In New Zealand, we have our own local Creative Commons NZ .

Creative Commons NZ encourages us to publish, share, exchange, learn and benefit from NZ intellectual property on the Internet, by providing a range of copyright licences.   The NZ government has recognised this, by releasing the New Zealand Government Open Access Licensing framework (NZGOAL),which promotes the release of copyright works for re-use using the most open Creative Commons licence.

The rationale for NZGOAL is that re-use of non-personal material by individuals and organisations may have significant creative and economic benefit for New Zealand.

Creative Privacy Licences

But what about personal information?  Surely personal information has the potential for significant creative and economic benefit for New Zealand too.   Personal information is excluded because it’s a controversial topic that quickly raises privacy issues.

Creative Commons has helped clarify the copyright page of websites, but users stay in a privacy limbo.  Imagine if we put similar effort into defining how websites can use our personal data.

Aza Razkin has done some initial work on an agreed set attributes of privacy policies and terms of service should people care about:

  • Is you data used for secondary use? And is it shared with 3rd parties?
  • Is your data bartered?
  • Under what terms is your data shared with the government and with law enforcement?
  • Does the company take reasonable measures to protect your data in all phases of collection and storage.
  • Does the service give you control of your data?
  • Does the service use your data to build and save a profile for non-primary use?
  • Are ad networks being used and under what terms?

These privacy attributes would be represented by icons, similar to Creative Commons.  This is not a new idea.  I’m pleased to see the idea of a Privacy Commons  emerged again this year, with Mozilla taking an interest.  We have some local expertise with Robert O’Brien from Tauranga being involved.  I don’t agree that reinventing a new Privacy Framework is the right approach.

Several years ago, I spoke with Lawrence Lessig about whether a Privacy Commons framework built using the Creative Commons framework.  He thought it was doable, but they needed $$ for developing and running it.  The $$$ were not big, from memory, a worldwide framework for less than $1 million.

There are many advantages to using the Creative Commons infrastructure.  Their icons are instantly recognised.  Their licences are machine-readable and being supported by an increasing number of systems.  They have national organisations, which work to localise the CC initiative in their country.

New Zealand has always been a world leader in privacy.  Lets continue to lead the field.

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