Privacy Norms Emerging

Privacy has been in the news quite a lot lately–I’m excited to see privacy norms materialize, and watching in real-time how companies negotiate the need to be networked with the emerging rules of privacy norms.

The ACLU of Northern California (and originators of http://www.dotrights.org/) released a primer on privacy and free speech entitled Privacy and Free Speech: It’s Good for Business, detailing instances where privacy has affected the conversation around a brand, both in positive and negative ways. The report advocates for notifications of privacy policy changes, transparency about the collection and storage of user data, and limits on data-retention periods. They hope that privacy will become a concern closely related to a company’s reputation. I wonder how many companies currently shaping privacy norms through their policies and actions read such research, and how to get it to the forefront of the privacy conversation.

Netflix is canceling its Netflix Prize Sequel due to user privacy concerns. According to their blog:

In the past few months, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) asked us how a Netflix Prize sequel might affect Netflix members’ privacy, and a lawsuit was filed by KamberLaw LLC pertaining to the sequel. With both the FTC and the plaintiffs’ lawyers, we’ve had very productive discussions centered on our commitment to protecting our members’ privacy.

We have reached an understanding with the FTC and have settled the lawsuit with plaintiffs. The resolution to both matters involves certain parameters for how we use Netflix data in any future research programs.

Facebook will be funding a $6 million “digital trust fund” as a result of the Beacon class action lawsuit. According to Business Insider,

The foundation will be chaired by UC Berkeley’s Chris Jay Hoofnagle, Facebook’s public policy director Tim Sparapani, and privacy advocate Larry Magid.

Infochimps, on the other hand, is selling user playlists, mood updates, mobile updates, photos, vents, reviews, blog posts, names and zipcodes from MySpace.

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