[MyData & Open Data] MyData-Open-Data Digest, Vol 6, Issue 2

Song, Stephen stephen.song at gmail.com
Wed Jul 3 17:32:19 UTC 2013

Hi Javier,

On 3 July 2013 12:59, Javier Ruiz <javier at openrightsgroup.org> wrote:

> It is hard to get away from the issue of "context" and the dynamic nature
> of context when talking about privacy.  I am happy to expose "mydata" in
> some contexts but not in others.  For me one of the most illustrative
> examples of the complexity of open data and privacy is the gun mapping
> drama that happened in the wake of the Newtown shooting.  Patrick Meier has
> a great analysis of it at
> http://irevolution.net/2013/01/23/perils-of-crisis-mapping/
> In this case, the right to 'opt out' of being mapped seems like a
> reasonable thing even though it is public data.
> Location data is a case apart and worth deserving its own category. In
> European law there is a specific obligation to allow for the withdrawal of
> consent to the processing of location data.
> http://www.ico.org.uk/for_organisations/privacy_and_electronic_communications/the_guide/location_data
> On it being public data:
> . In this context, it is important to note that any information relating
> to an identified or
> identifiable natural person, be it publicly available or not, constitutes
> personal data.
> Moreover, the mere fact that such data has been made publicly available
> does not lead
> to an exemption from data protection law. The reuse of personal data made
> publicly
> available by the public sector, thus remains subject in principle to the
> relevant data
> protection law.8
> https://secure.edps.europa.eu/EDPSWEB/webdav/site/mySite/shared/Documents/Consultation/Opinions/2012/12-04-18_Open_data_EN.pdf
> This possibly means that even if you publish your own data you may need to
> set out some extra guidelines telling people what they can do. Third
> parties cannot assume that just because you make it public it's ok to do
> whatever they want.

I think you have put your finger on a key tension between open data and
privacy.  According to the open definition, “Open data is data that can be
freely used, reused and redistributed by anyone – subject only, at most, to
the requirement to attribute and sharealike.”   It has been a defining
characteristic of the Open Data movement to limit the constraints on Open
Data to attribution and sharealike.  This was done on the broad assumption
that one was dealing with non-personal data.  I think we know now that the
boundary between personal and non-personal can be pretty fuzzy.  Would it
be outrageous to suggest that an update to the open definition is needed to
accommodate data protection / privacy or is that somebody else's problem (

Still the best thing I have read on striking this balance is "Transparent
government, not transparent citizens: a report on privacy and transparency
for the Cabinet Office" by Kieron O'Hara (http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/272769/

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