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Privacy & Data

Thoughts from PrivacyCampDC 2010

Last weekend, we convened an “unconference” to bring together people in the DC area interested in discussing and debating ideas about privacy. An unconference has no agenda, no keynotes, no prescribed topics, and only one focus – ours was privacy. Bright and early Saturday morning, we met to create the schedule based on the interests and expertise of the attendees. From the opening pep talk by the White House’s deputy CTO Andrew McLaughlin to the closing session, this year’s DC PrivacyCamp was a success – many engaged privacy geeks braved barely-functional metro system in order to come downtown, talk about privacy, and drive the conversation around privacy innovations.

We had many return ‘campers’ from last year and picked up some conversations started there – but this time, we’re hoping that we can keep the discussion going year-round through a series of PrivacyCamps worldwide. We’ll be continuing the conversation in a few weeks at the next PrivacyCamp in San Francisco on May 7th, and we hope to see you there – whether it’s via the livestream, Twitter, or in person. If you are interested in seeing what we talked about, our Twitter archive is a good place to start. Though there were more fantastic sounding sessions on the schedule than I could actually go to in a single day, I left inspired by the discussion around the difficulty of “forgetting” online, reputation and privacy, identity, and Privacy Commons (a project initiated at last year’s Privacy Camp). Luckily, I’ll be able to continue the discussion in a few weeks – and hopefully at some of the following PrivacyCamps worldwide!

Another fantastic event coming up in San Francisco is the Internet Identity Workshop on May 17th, and we’re hoping to make sure that privacy advocates are part of the conversation (let me know if you’d like to register – we have a discount!). This workshop brings together those who are interested in using, transmitting, and protecting personal characteristics online. Creating and maintaining this identity information online is quickly becoming one of the central challenges of the digital age. These identity transactions create the backbone for many innovative online services – every time you log in online, you’re facilitating an identity transaction. Every time you buy something online or even are served with customized advertisements, you’re part of an identity transaction. These online assertions will continue to drive innovative online services – but we must ensure that privacy is a part of the discussion. CDT will be there – and spreading our identity principles far and wide.

It’s exciting to know the number of events in the works and the amount of energy that is growing around these events.  Be sure to check out CDT's Flickr page for photos of the DC Privacy Camp.