Disillusioned Discordian

Time for a Data Protection Kite Mark?
October 27, 2008, 10:08 am
Filed under: ID Cards / Surveillance

In a rather odd development some Mobile phone companies have called upon Liberty to endorse their Data protection credentials. Although Liberty has a degree of sector expertise (read for instance its latest report on Privacy and Surveillance), you’d make sense to approach an organization like FIPR, ORG or even NO2ID. You would have thought the most sensible organization to approach was the regulatory authorities for instance the ICO.

It does however raise the interesting potential of a branded seal of approval for organizations with a strong track record in safe-guarding personal data. Such a branded logo could act as a ‘Fair Trade’ logo for Data security. Personally I can see the benefits of such a scheme being run as it would harvest market forces and consumer choice to help drive the privacy agenda. I would suggest that such a scheme is best run by an independent council consisting of NGO’s such FIPR, ORG, Liberty and NO2ID alongside academic experts, possibly in partnership with the ICO.

If such a scheme was run by the government there would be a real risk that it was setup in such as way as to allow the corrosive Transformational Government Agenda to proceed whilst only regulating select aspects of it’s choosing within the private sector. Hopefully the Government’s track record on data security would render the possibility of it running an assurance scheme infeasible, and as such prevent it being used as a fig leaf propaganda exercise.

I suspect that Shami wouldn’t soil Liberty with such a direct commercial endorsement, although hopefully this should raise some interesting discussion amongst privacy advocates. In any case it is a welcome development that large corporations are realizing the market value of taking individuals privacy seriously.


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