World Wide Web

Semantic web and privacy issues

Whoa! This is something interesting.

On one side are the people who are talking about making interesting analysis from information over the web and on the other side are people who are talking about its potential threat to privacy.

Well, I am talking about collecting data from various sources and then making interesting analysis from this data. And this data could be of facts, things or 'people'.

Entity analytics is not something new to the Semantic Web. There is some work going on in the field of Relationship resolution (Who is who), Identity Resolution (Who knows who) and Anonymous Resolution (Who is who and who knows who, anonymously). And this is really important because it helps organizations combat against frauds and threat.

But the concern raised in this article in BBC cannot be ignored. The most striking statement made here by Hugh Glaser, Southampton University, with reference to the web is, “All of this data is public data already. The problem comes when it is processed”.

You better leave the needle in the hay. Don't try to analyze and find out where I had been last Friday!

Ok, so what is the solution. Role based security at the data source level is something that I can think of. Build security into the core of the system. This way, no data can get out without people having proper access permissions.

Another solution is to make sure users 'mark' data as available for analysis and if so what kind of analysis. Using data for sampling (individuals being totally anonymous) might not be really bad.

Well, this is something that I feel are some solutions that might be considered to solve this problem. Time will tell.