[MyData & Open Data] distinctions between personal and open

Mr. Puneet Kishor punk.kish at gmail.com
Wed Jul 3 22:45:14 UTC 2013

I am not sure I fully understand the argument, so I will respond thusly --

I believe open and private are fundamentally orthogonal because the things I want private I don't want them to be open, and vice versa. If my private info can be safely converted into non-private info, that is, if I could be assured of protection of my identity, I would share info about myself. 

My medical info is in this camp. I would be happy to share all my medical info as long as I am de-identified from it, and it is all aggregated into a giant pool.

Going back to the thesis about information asymmetry put forth below, what kind of asymmetry would have to be re-calibrated, and how, to encourage me to share my private info without de-identification? I can't really think of any. 

Perhaps I might have a philosophical allergy to giving my info to the big, evil, money  grubbing corporation (BEMGC), but I can't think of anything of interest the BEMGC could offer me so I may part with my private info. As such, that would be a totally different reason.

In fact, as much as I want to give my private info for good, non-BEMGC causes such as finding medical cures, etc., I would feel more inclined to do that if I were de-identified. That is, when my private info has been changed into something that is not private anymore.

Partly, my desire for private things to remain private stem from my desire for safety -- I don't want my foibles to be used against me. Partly, I just want some things to remain private. In spite of ~25 years of the web, a lot of us human beings like privacy. That is just how humans are, at least, a lot of us, and not just because we don't want "big-brother" monitoring us. Although, that too is a valid concern. We need to protect ourselves from our protectors.

I look forward to more explanation about information asymmetry as the reason for privacy concerns. One way for me to understand it would be like so -- as I mentioned above, some information asymmetry will always be present; the giant pool of information will always have more information than I will have. It is not clear to me how that information asymmetry could be rebalanced to alleviate my privacy concerns.

Many thanks

On Jul 3, 2013, at 3:18 PM, Samuel Leach <samuel.leach at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hello all,
> I thought I'd try to relay a powerful argument that Reuben Binns made at
> the London Open Data meetup last night:
> http://www.meetup.com/OpenKnowledgeFoundation/London-GB/972902/
> He asked (I paraphrase him) "Is open and private fundamentally in
> conflict?" His answer was "no" because privacy concerns often arise when
> there is some kind 'information asymmetry' (one party has more information
> about the other, than vice versa). So a bit more openness could reduce
> worries about privacy concerns. There must be some recognition of this at
> some level? - eg the right to the £2 statutory credit report.
> Sam
> On 3 July 2013 16:55, stef <s at ctrlc.hu> wrote:
>> On Wed, Jul 03, 2013 at 08:11:36AM +0100, Andy Turner wrote:
>>> One might want to readily share medical records for epidemiology
>> research, but be less willing to share it with insurers or advertisers even
>> though these might offer us personally beneficial things.
>> as long as the costs of data leaks is externalised to the victims, it does
>> not
>> matter if you only release it for "good purposes". not even the US can
>> keep a
>> secret when 3m contractors have access, not everyone will be a
>> rules-abiding
>> employee. just imagine an NSA program, that collects medical data from
>> epidemiology research. and even for other actors, the value of such data
>> allows for heavy pre-investments which cannot be countered by epidemiology
>> research institutions. the incentives are badly biased.

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