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Report Spurs Discussion on Analytics and Privacy Rights

CDT released a report yesterday examining how federal government agencies can acquire important usage data from users of their websites while still respecting privacy rights.   In conjunction with the release of that report, CDT hosted a panel of privacy policy experts in a moderated discussion of the report’s findings.   The panel fielded questions from in-person attendees as well as those following the event via our live Twitter feed and channel.

One of the stated goals in the report was “to stimulate public comment and debate” on these issues and solicit feedback on the recommendations from both the public and private sector.   What better way to stimulate discussion in a Web 2.0 world than through live Twitter feeds and Web streams, where users can submit questions and comments.   The Twitter feed discussion (under the hashtag #govmeas) and live Web stream allowed us to engage new audiences and solicit feedback in the discussion about privacy rights in a Gov 2.0 world.   If you were unable to view the discussion live, the feed can be read in its entirety by searching the hashtag on Twitter.

Here’s a sample of the comments and questions posed to the panel via Twitter :

“Learning alot about gov. & privacy via chat #govmeas Thanks to @CenDemTech.” –@tracysherman
“Would web measurement be the same for all agencies? would DHS and EPA would track the same way? #govmeas.” –@DCBadger
“Explain the importance of analytics, and why a greater emphasis on it over changes to the overall system #p2 #govmeas #gov20.” –@timryan
“Would be interested if privacy issues in #gov20 collaboration are discussed-Both Govt. worker privacy and authenticated citizens.” –@noeldickover
“So will OMB policy shift? from no persistent cookys 2 persist. cookys w/user acceptance?” –@joyrenee

Even the panelists and moderators got involved:

“Moderating at @CenDemTech, @EFF, at 3 PM. Submit questions, follow #govmeas, watch it live” –@GregElin
“‘Analytics allow user experience to be optimized by analyzes how site is used’- A.Cooper #govmeas.” –@emd5005

If this feedback is any indication, it is clear that the report will continue to raise discussion and awareness concerning Web measurement and privacy rights as more of these technologies are implemented in the new open government space.