Liberty PPEG Privacy Summits

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A contribution to the 'history and terminology' thread...

In 2007, the Liberty Public Policy Expert Group (PPEG) has run three Privacy Summit events, in Berlin, Brussels and Washington DC. The next Privacy Summits are planned for the UK in early 2008, and Basel in March 2008.

The aim of these events has been to get privacy stakeholders from many different disciplines (IT, policy, regulation, legal, academic) round the table for a free-form, peer to peer discussion of strategic issues and possible solutions.

As the series unfolded, we quickly found that a major stumbling block was the lack of a shared terminology and model for the basic concepts of identity data and privacy. It was too easy for useful discussions of 'second-order' topics such as trust and privacy to get mired in largely unnecessary confusion over basic concepts and terminology. As a result, we used the Berlin and Brussels summits to generate reports which we believe help move towards such shared understanding.

In particular, the Brussels report sets out simple models which illustrate the different 'layers' identity data, their application in different 'sectors' (such as employment, healthcare, tax and so on), and the relative roles of credentials, attributes and indices. The report then illustrates concepts such as identity 'contexts', the establishment of contexts which span sectors, and some of the ways in which architecture, technology and policy need to interact in order for the system as a whole to function correctly.

We used the Washington DC summit as an opportunity to test the usefulness of these models, and found that they allowed us to quickly establish a common level of understanding amongst all the participants. That enabled us to move on to a productive discussion of the 'second-order' topics and capitalise fully on the skills and experience of the assembled stakeholders.

There is a pdf of the Brussels report here, and one of the Berlin report here.

Any comments on the reports are welcome; please email me: robin dot wilton at sun dot com