Thursday, June 23, 2016

Stanford CSP 74 Principles of Invention and Innovation (BUS 74). Session 1 Quiz 1

Research shows that online privacy remains a controversial topic. For example, a review article from the Science Magazine states*:

If this is the age of information, then privacy is the issue of our times. Activities that were once private or shared with the few now leave trails of data that expose our interests, traits, beliefs, and intentions.
Both firms and individuals can benefit from the sharing of once hidden data and from the application of increasingly sophisticated analytics to larger and more interconnected databases (3). So too can society as a whole—for instance, when electronic medical records are combined to observe novel drug interactions (4). On the other hand, the potential for personal data to be abused—for economic and social discrimination, hidden influence and manipulation, coercion, or censorship—is alarming. The erosion of privacy can threaten our autonomy, not merely as consumers but as citizens (5). Sharing more personal data does not necessarily always translate into more progress, efficiency, or equality (6).

Question: How would an IDEAL privacy system would change the situation.

*Science 30 Jan 2015:
Vol. 347, Issue 6221, pp. 509-514
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaa1465

Direct link to the article (pdf) on


Brian said...

Current privacy laws suffer from a number of inefficiencies that an ideal privacy law system might solve.

An ideal privacy system would have very "simple to understand" concepts. All websites, ideally through browser technology, could highlight what data is being captured with simple to understand toggles for users to opt-in to, e.g. pictoral representations of name, age, sex, browser history, etc. The system should be transparent and all websites should have to adhere to the same standards. Browsers should retain user preferences.

The trade-offs for opting in should also be standardized and made clear across all websites. Whether this takes the form of "privacy currency"or other value is to be determined.

An ideal system would be technology and device agnostic, as well as accepted and implemented globally.

For those that opt-in to sharing certain data points, that data should be anonymized and made available in an open-source format for the betterment of society. The article mentions combining medical records to observe novel drug interactions, as an example.

Brian Favat

Leonardo Vieira said...

In my opinion, there are two main ways of how an ideal privacy system would change the current situation

-Users would know what data is being shared, when and to whom
-Users would have freedom to chose whenever you don't want specific data to be available and which

Leonardo Vieira

Kevin Haney said...

An ideal privacy system would include the following:

1. Strong encryption of sensitive data by default
2. Robust auditing capability to track exactly who/what/when/where data is shared
3. A simple, friendly interface for the user to assign time- and use-limited access to sensitive data
4. As mentioned by earlier posters, this technology would be device agnostic
5. Since companies currently have no (or little) incentive to protect (most) data, regulatory standards should be enhanced with users able to launch class action suits and sue for damages in the event of a data breach.

Also, since we all agree that personal data is 'valuable', there should be a micropayment system--i.e. all vendors should 'pay' a fee when asking for your sensitive data.

Why should you not get a cut when your personal data is aggregated, sold and resold around the planet?

For example, if you want my email address for 1 yr that might be $10. Online markets could determine what the 'going rate' is for sensitive data so that users can make explicit trade-offs on what information they want to voluntarily surrender.