[open-data-manual] Privacy guidelines for Open Government Data

Tim McNamara tim.mcnamara at okfn.org
Thu Aug 18 03:02:21 UTC 2011

This is one of the sections that we're building into the manual now.

It will be worthwhile to ask this question on the open-government
list, with its far larger audience. I would also like to keep this
mailing list quite focused on manual specific discussion. I wouldn't
like to dilute the other lists by spreading discussion to here.

On 18 August 2011 13:27, Philip Ashlock <phil at openplans.org> wrote:
> Has anyone put together any good guidelines for handling personally
> identifiable information or other data with privacy concerns within the
> context of open government data?
> Most open data policies and guidelines I've seen make mention of the need to
> honor "valid privacy concerns" but tend to do little else than that or defer
> to existing provisions in law. What I'm looking for are both 1)
> recommendations from the open data community on the best privacy policies
> for open government data and 2) more detailed technical guidelines on
> filtering or anonymizing private information.
> The kinds of examples I'm interested in for policy would be things like the
> New York State Freedom of Information Law which requires databases and other
> data models to be designed to allow easy filtering of private information
> (to segregate the private data).
> The kinds of examples I'm interested in as far as technical guidelines for
> filtering or anonymizing private data would be things like adjusting
> applicable crime data location coordinates to the nearest centerpoint of the
> block (I think Washington D.C. does this).
> I feel like oftentimes constructive discussion of this topic is thwarted by
> concerns about the mosaic effect, but it seems like those are more often
> theoretical concerns rather than proven ones. Either way, I'd appreciate it
> if any coverage of the mosaic effect would include a clear distinction
> between proven and theoretical concerns.
> I've started to collect references to material like this on a new page of
> the Civic Commons wiki, but I'm wondering if there's already something out
> there. Please feel free to chime in with references or suggestions or add
> them to this page on the wiki:
> http://wiki.civiccommons.org/Privacy_Policy
> Thanks!
> Phil
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