Government officials tell companies at Web 2.0 Summit that they are asking for trouble if they collect data first and ask questions later.
10 Lessons Learned By Big Data Pioneers
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Would-be data miners were urged to dig carefully at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco on Tuesday.
Ann Cavoukian, information and privacy commissioner of Ontario, Canada, and David Vladeck, director of the Federal Trade Commission's Bureau of Consumer Protection, took turns advising the entrepreneurs and business leaders in the audience to gather only data that's necessary and to do so in a way that respects user privacy.
Cavoukian advocated what she called privacy by design, building privacy protections into products because it's better business and better for consumers. Privacy and business interests are not a zero-sum game, she insisted. It can be a positive-sum game, where businesses can gain better, more actionable information by involving consumers in the process.
Businesses have a choice between privacy-by-design or privacy-by-disaster, she suggested.
"Privacy is about control," said Cavoukian. "The individual should control what happens to the information."
[ Facebook has been mentioned frequently at the Web 2.0 Summit because it has so much data. Ironically, its biggest problem may be that it presents users with too much information. ]
If Cavoukian's vision of proactive privacy protection represented the carrot, Vladeck described the stick. As the U.S. government's consumer privacy enforcer, Vladeck acknowledged that the business leaders in the audience didn't want to hear from him and he insisted that he didn't want to hear about them.
Don't collect data you don't need, urged Vladeck. "It's an albatross that can come back and really bite you," he said.
He urged entrepreneurs to familiarize themselves with privacy laws like the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, which forbids the collection of personal information from children under 13 without parental consent. He cited the FTC's recent settlement with mobile app maker Broken Thumb Apps as an example of how companies can get in trouble when they fail to follow the law.
And lest anyone be tempted to ignore the call to self-regulate, Danny Weitzner, from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, spoke briefly to remind conference attendees that the openness of the Internet should not be taken for granted.
Those who have been paying attention to the global tide of Internet policy will know that the tradition of leaving the Internet loosely regulated is being reevaluated in various countries, he said. This is happening not just in countries like China but in European countries like Germany, he said.
The message coming out of these sessions was clear: Be careful with your data, or be prepared to deal with regulators.
Published: 2015-03-29 Johnson Controls Metasys 4.1 through 6.5, as used in Application and Data Server (ADS), Extended Application and Data Server (aka ADX), LonWorks Control Server 85 LCS8520, Network Automation Engine (NAE) 55xx-x, Network Integration Engine (NIE) 5xxx-x, and NxE8500, allows remote attackers to read pa...
Published: 2015-03-29 Unrestricted file upload vulnerability in unspecified web services in Johnson Controls Metasys 4.1 through 6.5, as used in Application and Data Server (ADS), Extended Application and Data Server (aka ADX), LonWorks Control Server 85 LCS8520, Network Automation Engine (NAE) 55xx-x, Network Integratio...
Published: 2015-03-29 Stack-based buffer overflow in the PmBase64Decode function in an unspecified demonstration application in MICROSYS PROMOTIC stable before 8.2.19 and PROMOTIC development before 8.3.2 allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code by providing a large amount of data.
Published: 2015-03-29 The RPC daemon in EMC Isilon OneFS 6.5.x and 7.0.x before 220.127.116.11, 7.1.0 before 18.104.22.168, 7.1.1 before 22.214.171.124, and 7.2.0 before 126.96.36.199 allows local users to gain privileges by leveraging an ability to modify system files.
Published: 2015-03-29 Schneider Electric InduSoft Web Studio before 188.8.131.52 SP3 Patch 4 and InTouch Machine Edition 2014 before 184.108.40.206 SP3 Patch 4 rely on a hardcoded cleartext password to control read access to Project files and Project Configuration files, which makes it easier for local users to obtain sensitive info...