Geek-Guy.com

Author: Cillian Kieran

Comment on Comment: DuckDuckgo Browser Allows Microsoft Trackers Due To Search Agreement by Cillian Kieran

<p><span style=\”color: #333333; font-family: \’Helvetica Neue\’, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 18px; white-space: pre-line; background-color: #ffffff;\”> The DuckDuckGo disclosure is an opportunity to reflect, for individuals and companies alike. As an individual, who defines what privacy means to you? As an organization, is your internal definition of \”user privacy\” consistent with what your users expect? The DuckDuckGo disclosure is a consequence of a deeper issue: right now in most of the United States, our definitions of privacy—when it is respected, when it is violated—largely come from companies who stand to profit from their proprietary notions of privacy. The disclosure is a potent call for comprehensive consumer privacy legislation, as a means to codify privacy rules via a public institution rather than a business that is tiself playing the game.</span><br style=\”box-sizing: border-box; color: #333333; font-family: \’Helvetica Neue\’, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 18px; white-space: pre-line; background-color: #ffffff;\” /><span style=\”color: #333333; font-family: \’Helvetica Neue\’, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 18px; white-space: pre-line; background-color: #ffffff;\”>The variation in privacy definitions is understandable, particularly given the lack of comprehensive consumer privacy law in the U.S. Instead of a public institution determining what constitutes a privacy right or a privacy violation, the most vocal arbiters of privacy are companies that are selling their own notions of privacy for profit.</span><br style=\”box-sizing: border-box; color: #333333; font-family: \’Helvetica Neue\’, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 18px; white-space: pre-line; background-color: #ffffff;\” /><span style=\”color: #333333; font-family: \’Helvetica Neue\’, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 18px; white-space: pre-line; background-color: #ffffff;\”>One way to make transparency more than a statement is by supporting the development of open-source software. That is, software projects with source code that anyone can review, collaborate on, and distribute. Open-source software is key to developing fair and privacy-respecting technologies, for several reasons. Any developer can inspect the actual code defining data flows and privacy standards. Developers can also collaborate openly to workshop and refine privacy standards. With the mindset of \”Trust, but verify,\” people outside of a software company don\’t have to take that company\’s word that they\’re following the rules; the outside observers can see for themselves.</span><br style=\”box-sizing: border-box; color: #333333; font-family: \’Helvetica Neue\’, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 18px; white-space: pre-line; background-color: #ffffff;\” /><span style=\”color: #333333; font-family: \’Helvetica Neue\’, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 18px; white-space: pre-line; background-color: #ffffff;\”>In addition to implementing approaches like open-source software development, companies must consider their own communications with respect to the current privacy vacuum in the U.S. Developing tools or products with any mention of \”privacy\” means that the stakes are high. Calling yourself a privacy champion is an invitation for users to deeply trust what you offer. Users develop high standards, and there is the visceral backlash as I\’ve observed in the hours since the disclosure. For those of us that are building privacy technologies—whether your customers are people or businesses—we need to recognize the responsibility that comes with branding ourselves \”privacy\” companies. Humans are trusting you to do what you say and—importantly—to not do what you don\’t say. Tucking data practices into legalese does not protect you from real reputational damage.</span><br style=\”box-sizing: border-box; color: #333333; font-family: \’Helvetica Neue\’, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 18px; white-space: pre-line; background-color: #ffffff;\” /><span style=\”color: #333333; font-family: \’Helvetica Neue\’, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 18px; white-space: pre-line; background-color: #ffffff;\”>Privacy challenges are technical, legislative, and cultural. Our privacy solutions need to be similarly interdisciplinary. This can look like developing open-source privacy tools, fostering norms where independent audits of technology are healthy and welcome, and enacting comprehensive federal privacy legislation in the U.S.</span></p>