understanding the importance and impact of anonymity and authentication in a networked society
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.:works in progress:.
.:works in progress:. | .:publications:. | .:presentations:. | .:id trail mix:.


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Scoping Anonymity in Cases of Compelled Disclosure of Identity: Lessons from BMG Canada Inc. v. John Doe
By: Ian Kerr & Alex Cameron

in Contours of Privacy, ed. David Matheson (forthcoming 2008)

Click here to download the chapter. 

 
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Biobanking: Preserving Patient Autonomy
By: Kenna Miskelly & Marsha Hanen



Click here to read the draft paper.
 
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Identity Theft: A Conceptual Analysis
By: Steven Davis

Click here to download the draft paper.

 
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Privacy Mechanisms and Instant Messaging
By: Jacquelyn Burkell and Rob Carey


Penultimate Draft: Please do not cite, copy or quote without permission.


ABSTRACT:
We conducted a focus group with eight experienced users of MSN Messenger to learn more about the behavioral mechanisms that users of Instant Messaging (IM) employ to obtain desired levels of privacy (Altman, 1977).  We found that people used a wide variety of verbal, paraverbal, spatial and territorial mechanisms to protect their privacy while using MSN, depending on contingencies such as physical location of computer, proximate others, intended recipient(s) of the message, and desired level of information exchange with others in their IM network. Privacy mechanisms in the context of instant messaging are motivated by two general considerations that arise with respect to known and unknown others: 1) limiting the access of others to personal information; 2) limiting intrusions from others.

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TO OBSERVE AND PROTECT?  How Digital Rights Management Systems Threaten Privacy and What Policy Makers Should Do About It
By: Ian Kerr


PENULTIMATE DRAFT of a chapter forthcoming in Intellectual Property and Information Wealth: Copyright and Related Rights (vol.1), Edited by Peter Yu, Praeger Publishers, 2007.

ABSTRACT:
A dominant strategy for protecting copyright in digital works employs “technological protection measures” [TPMs] and “digital rights management” [DRM] systems. In many jurisdictions, it also includes a new layer of legal protection that prohibits the circumvention of the technologies designed to protect copyright. While TPMs and DRM automatically enforce copyright by monitoring and restricting the use of digital material, their excessive use poses serious threats to personal privacy. This chapter examines the privacy implications of anti-circumvention laws. The author argues that many of the proposed or enacted anti-circumvention laws around the globe fail to adequately address key aspects of the privacy implications of DRM.

The author begins by distinguishing between technological protection measures (TPMs) and digital rights managements (DRM) systems, examining how such technologies are used to enforce corporate copyright policies and express copyright permissions imposed by a DRM through a registration process that requires purchasers to hand over personal information.  Given DRM’s extraordinary surveillance capabilities, the author argues that anti-circumvention laws must contain express provisions and penalties to protect citizens from organizations using TPMs and DRMs to pirate personal information, engage in excessive monitoring, and preclude people from exercising their right to access and control personal information. In determining an appropriate balance, the author introduces three public policy considerations: (i) the anonymity Principle; (ii) individual access; and (iii) freedom from contract.  The author concludes by providing three recommendations that would provide the sort of counter-measures necessary to offset the new powers and protections afforded to TPM and DRM.
 
 
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On the Identity Trail
Student Work in Progress Report (May 2006)


Click here to read about On the Idenity Trail students' current work in development and interests.
 
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Overprotection, Surveillance, and the Development of Virtue
By: David Matheson

Abstract:
The overarching thesis of this paper is that the surveillance society risks undermining the ability of its citizens to develop moral virtues for the same sort of reason that overprotective parenting can impair the moral development of children. In Section 1, I review the psychological evidence linking overprotective parenting of a certain sort to impaired moral development in children. In Sections 2 and 3 I go on to offer an explanation of this link: the overprotection carries with it an overt, disaffective excess of surveillance that vitiates a plausible condition on the development of virtues derived from Aristotle. I conclude in Section 4 by pointing out that the networked monitoring systems that pervade the surveillance society carry with them a similar kind of surveillance, which makes that society’s citizens as unlikely to meet the development condition as the overprotected children.
 
 
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Anonymity
By: Ian Kerr

To be submitted to major new privacy encylcopedia.

Click here to download entry.

 
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Authentication
By: Stefan Brands


To be submitted to major new privacy encylopedia.

Click here to download entry.
 
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THE ANONOPEDIA

The Anonopedia is a glossary of key terms and concepts related to privacy, anonymity and identity. Written in simple, ordinary language, its purpose is to provide readers with a greater understanding of privacy related topics by removing disciplinary barriers that technical or professional terms might otherwise present.

The Anonopedia was developed collaboratively by Stephanie Perrin, who, prior to heading up the research and policy branch of the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, was the Project’s Research Co-ordinator, and two of the projects partners, CIPPIC (under the direction of Pippa Lawson, Executive Director and General Counsel) and EPIC (under the direction of Chris Hoffnagle, Director and Senior Counsel, EPIC West).  The Anonopedia represents the work of many of the project’s students who have developed definitions and links to resources, and we would like to thank the following for their work: Jennifer Barrigar, Erin Callery, Uruszula Galster, Michelle Gordon, Carole Lucock, and Leila Pourtavaf.  We would also like to thank Professor Elizabeth Judge, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa for her assistance with this project.

The Anonopedia should be read as a work-in-progress and will be updated from time to time with additions or revised definitions.  Consequently, we encourage you to submit suggested terms to add to the Anonopedia (for example, a term that you searched for and were unable to find; we also welcome proposed definitions).

Contact: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Click here to download the Anonopedia...

 
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Let’s Not Get Psyched Out of Privacy: Reflections on Withdrawing Consent to the Collection, Use and Disclosure of Personal Information
By: Jennifer Barrigar, Jacquelyn Burkell, and Ian Kerr

forthcoming in Canadian Journal of Business Law

Penultimate Draft: Please do not cite, copy or quote without permission.  

Click here to download this paper...

 
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IS YOU IS OR IS YOU AIN’T: Making PIPEDA’s Rights Language Meaningful By Re-Viewing Social Value
By: Jennifer Barrigar

Penultimate Draft: Please do not cite, copy or quote without permission.  


Abstract:

PIPEDA's purpose clause contains within it an unresolved tension -- whether one understands the clause to encompass privacy as social value grounded in human rights or whether one understands PIPEDA protection to cover only a right of control over personal information (data protection) is of fundamental importance to the understanding and implementation of the Act.  This paper explores the historical construction of PIPEDA as data control, but argues that a re-viewing of the notion of privacy and a commitment to situating privacy as a social value has the power to transform the existing form of the law into something beyond data protection.
 
 
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Anonymity and Privacy: Conceptual Links and Normative Implications
By: Travis Dumsday


Presented at Contours of Privacy: Normative, Psychological and Social Perspectives, Carleton University, November 5-6, 2005.

Click here to download this paper...

 
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Protecting Your Anonymity in a World of Identifying Technologies
By: Milana Homsi

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The PIPED Piper: The New Federal Approach to Treating Commercial Information and the Need for Canadian Courts to Follow Suit in Terms of the Reasonable Expectation of Privacy
By: Robert DuPelle

ABSTRACT:
In this paper Robert argues that Canadian Courts need to modify the reasonable expectation of privacy standard so that it can adapt to the trend in society toward increased sharing of personal information within the commercial context. Robert contends that the enactment of the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) is evidence that the federal government has recognized that individuals have a privacy interest in even small amounts of commercial data collected about them and their activities. He urges Canadian Courts to adopt a new approach to interpreting the reasonable expectation of privacy that reflects the federal government’s perspective and acknowledges that the use and collection of commercial information constitutes an emerging threat to privacy.
 
Click here to download his paper...

 
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Conflicting Experts and Dialectical Performance: Adjudication
By: David Matheson

ABSTRACT:
In a liberal democratic society, the layperson is constantly called upon to adjudicate epistemically between conflicting experts and their claims: juries are expected to cope with opposing expert witnesses before rendering a verdict, the electorate must sort through the contradictory programs and visions of those competing for office before casting their vote, and information consumers face the burden of judging the relative trustworthiness of inconsistent media reports. Assuming that reasonable layperson adjudication is possible (with varying degrees of success) in these sorts of situations, how should it proceed? Recently, social epistemologist Alvin Goldman has argued that special attention should be paid to the dialectical performances of conflicting experts the ways in which the experts present their evidence as opposed to that evidence itself. He goes on to defend a heuristic for layperson adjudication that pertains to rhetorical features of experts' dialectical performances. I argue that we have just as much reason to accept adjudication heuristics that pertain to moral and explanatory features of the performances. Recognition of this fact, I suggest, provides something by way of a countermeasure to the dangers involved in focusing primarily on marks of rhetorical superiority when it comes to layperson adjudication of conflicting experts.

Click here to download his paper...

 
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I am Where I am: seeing mobility rights through the lens of privacy
By: Martin Finestone

Click here to download his paper...

 
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Anonymity and Testimonial Warrant
By: David Matheson

ABSTRACT:
Membership in a highly networked society like our own has its privileges. It also has its responsibilities. Many of these are of course moral in nature, and evaluative discussions about the networked society frequently involve the moral voice. In this paper I speak in the epistemological voice. My broad concern is with the individual's place in a networked society from the point of view of the social acquisition and transmission of warranted belief -- that is, the sort of belief that, if true, amounts to knowledge. More specifically, I discuss a form of epistemic responsibility wrapped up with the phenomenon testimony -- something of crucial importance for the proper functioning of any networked society.

I begin by laying out two main epistemological approaches to testimony as a source of warranted belief: reductionism and antireductionism. Reductionism about testimony places certain demands on the recipient of testimony that antireductionism does not. Reductionism also, I argue, places certain demands on the testifier that antireductionism does not: the two approaches have different implications when it comes a testifier's responsibility to identify herself, and hence shed her anonymity. The worry that emerges is that, given the difficulty of deciding between these two approaches, the current state of affairs in epistemology has little to offer by way of secure advice on the sorts of anonymity constraints a networked society can place on its testifiers. This worry can be mitigated to some extent, I further argue, upon recognition of the fact that the two approaches stand on common ground when it comes to cases of known testimonial conflict: they both imply that when an agent's testimony finds known competition from that of other agents, the agent is epistemically constrained to shed her anonymity in important respects.

Click here to download this paper...

 
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Names, Nyms, Addresses and Reputations: The Experience of Anonymity in the Wired World
By: Jacquelyn Burkell and Peter West

ABSTRACT:
The anonymity of the Internet looms large in the public consciousness, at least in part due to the positive and negative behavioural effects that are entailed. Behaviour, however, is driven by internal feelings rather than external conditions, and to understand the impact of online anonymity we must therefore understand the subjective experience of the condition. This paper presents preliminary results of a qualitative study exploring this issue. 

Click here to download this paper...

 
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Sousveillance and Cyborglogs: A 30 year empirical voyage through ethical, legal and policy issues
By: Steve Mann


PENULTIMATE DRAFT: please do not cite, quote or copy

ABSTRACT:
This paper describes the author’s own personal experiences, experiments, and lifelong narrative of inventing, designing, building, and living with a variety of body-borne computer-based visual information capture and mediation devices. The emphasis is not just on the devices themselves, but on certain social, privacy, ethical, and legal questions and challenges that have arisen from actual experiences with lifelong video capture, processing, transmission, and dissemination in a variety of different everyday cultural settings over the past 30 years. The most interesting of these accidentally-found questions pertain to:

Extrapolating from these lessons, several hypotheses are presented, including: (1) sousveillance, like surveillance, will be driven by rapid development of new technology, leaving legal frameworks lagging behind technology; (2) the growth of sousveillance will accelerate greatly when implementations come with other non-sousveillance uses (e.g. camera phones because of their strategic ambiguity with regards to whether they are being used to take a picture or for just a voice call); (3) legal frameworks will tend to support, rather than oppose sousveillance; (4) such legal protections will favour video sousveillance over video surveillance just as they now favour audio sousveillance over audio surveillance; (5) such legal protections will emerge first for the disabled (e.g. the visually impaired); and will then expand to encompass other legitimate and beneficial uses of sousveillance (personal safety, evidence gathering, etc.); (6) a person wishing to do lifelong sousveillance is deserving of certain legal protections liabilizing others who might attempt to disrupt continuity of evidence.

Click here to download his paper...
 
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Digital Traffic Cops: Recommendations for the Canadian Cybercrime Initiative
By: Jason Young

This paper is adapted from an earlier, more comprehensive work Surfing While Muslim: Privacy, Freedom of Expression and the Unintended Consequences of Cybercrime Legislation (forthcoming McGill L.J., 2004). This paper was a part of the conference proceedings at the 14th Annual Computers, Freedom and Privacy 2004, Berkeley, 20-22 April 2004.

Click here to view his paper...

 
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Will changes in data health privacy legislation kill research as we know it?
By: Valerie Steeves


Presented on October 20, 2004, at the 2004 Annual Labelle Lectureship, Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis, McMaster University

ABSTRACT:
When Dr. Jack Tu and his co-writers (2004) published their article in the New England Journal of Medicine on the Impracticability of Informed Consent in the Registry of Canadian Stroke Patients, they raised a number of serious concerns about the ways in which data protection laws may constrain medical research. The authors argued that informed consent led both to low participation rates and to selection biases in the registry database, and they concluded minimal-risk observational research must be exempted from privacy laws if “patients are going to receive the best possible care.” A follow-up interview with Dr. Tu published in the Medical Post made a stronger case. The headline read: “Privacy rules may threaten research: Following PIPEDA has led to biassed database for Canadian Stroke Network” (Wysong, 2004). With headlines like these, it is no surprise researchers have become increasingly wary of data protection laws.

For the purposes of this paper, I am bracketing the specific question of whether or not consent should be required for registries. Instead, I will focus on Dr. Tu’s underlying conclusion that privacy and research are involved in a zero sum game and researchers must resist data protection regulation because it will harm the research enterprise. I will suggest that the conclusion that data protection will constrain research practices is not supportable, because it is based on 6 myths:

Myth No. 1: Data protection laws restrict access to health information for research purposes.
Myth No. 2: Research is an unencumbered public good free of any private interest.
Myth No. 3: Privacy is an individual right and so must give way to research as a public good.
Myth No. 4: Observational research data collected without the patient’s knowledge and consent will lead to unbiased data.
Myth No. 5: Privacy is a road block to better health.
Myth No. 6: Deidentified health information does not pose a risk of harm to the patient.

I will examine each of these myths in turn and seek to establish a more nuanced understanding of the issues, in the hope that this will support ongoing discussions about the role data protection should play in the research enterprise.
 
Click here to download her paper...
 
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Privacy, Knowledge, and Knowableness
By: David Matheson


ABSTRACT:
Despite their differences, the three most prominent accounts of (informational) privacy on the contemporary scene -- the Control Theory, the Limited Access Theory, and the Narrow Ignorance Theory -- all hold that an individual's privacy is at least partly a function of a kind of inability of others to know personal facts about her. This common commitment, I argue, renders the accounts vulnerable to compelling counterexamples. I go on to articulate a new account of privacy -- the Broad Ignorance Theory -- that avoids the commitment by rendering an individual's privacy exclusively a function of others not knowing personal facts about her. The remainder of the paper then answers four objections to the Broad Ignorance Theory: that it paradoxically renders private what is in the public domain, that it fails to explain the oddity of attributions of privacy to individuals unable to control whether others know various personal facts about them, that it conflates privacy and secrecy, and that it conflicts with intuitions about privacy losses stemming from false or unjustified beliefs about an individual.

Click here to download this paper...
 
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The Right to Privacy and the Security of the Person
By: David Matheson


ABSTRACT:
Among the (moral) rights of individuals, some are derivative -- possessed in virtue of possessing other rights -- and others fundamental. On the assumption that the right to privacy is a derivative right, we find ourselves faced with an interesting location project: Where are we to place the right to privacy within the framework of fundamental rights? Which fundamental right or rights is the right to privacy best thought to be a (sub)species of? Building on insights from Warren and Brandeis's classic _Harvard Law Review_ article (1890), I argue that violations of an individual's right to privacy are best understood as violations of her right not to be inter-psychologically battered -- battered in a way that inappropriately alters the relations between the individual's psyche and another's -- and that the right to privacy is therefore ultimately to be located as a (sub)species of the fundamental right to the security of the person. This view, I further argue, has two important consequences: it undermines a wide swath of theories that posit a tight connection between privacy and autonomy (or free choice), and calls into question a well-known deflationary hypothesis about the right to privacy articulated by Judith Jarvis Thomson.

Click here to download his paper...


 
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Techniques of Consumer Surveillance and Approaches to their regulation in Canada and the USA
By: Philippa Lawson

This paper was presented at the tenth annual International Consumer Law Conference in Lima, Peru, May 4-6, 2005. It also formed the basis of a presentation given at CFP2005 on April 12, 2005 as part of a day-long workshop organized by the On the Identity Trail project.

ABSTRACT:
To an extent unimaginable not too long ago, consumer profiling has become an accepted component of retail marketing. Most retailers have adopted some form of "Customer Relationship Management" ("CRM"), which involves collecting as much personal information about individual customers as possible in order to market to them more effectively. Such information is collected through a variety of means, ranging from straightforward surveys and registration forms to surreptitious electronic monitoring, using web bugs and spyware. In some cases, issues of misleading advertising and deceptive business practices arise. Even where these are not a factor, issues of consumer consent to the collection and use of their personal information for marketing purposes are central. How are different jurisdictions responding to these questions? What are the challenges facing those who seek to control the use of online data collection techniques such as cookies and spyware? This paper reviews techniques used by marketers to collect personal consumer information, and critically analyses approaches to their regulation in Canada and the USA.

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The Epistemology and Normativity of Identifying and Identification
By: Steven Davis

ABOUT: We are asked to identify ourselves and are identified in banks, schools, businesses, stores, government offices, hospitals, etc. It would be difficult for modern post industrial societies to function without these actions. What is involved in being identified and identifying ourselves? My main goal is to get clear about the nature of identifying in ordinary situations. To this end, I shall begin by distinguishing two different sorts of identifying: non-reflexive and reflexive, and within these categories identifyings that are speech acts and those that are not. I shall then turn to an example and discuss it in some detail concentrating on its epistemic elements. Finally, I shall discuss the normative aspects of identifying.

Click here to download this paper.

 
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