I just finished watching Microsoft’s Trustworthy Computing corporate vice President Scott Charney share his vision for the next decade in a keynote, “TwC for our Computing–centric Society,” in San Francisco at the annual RSA Security Conference. Scott outlined his vision for Trustworthy Computing Next with a new white paper.
The new white paper addresses privacy, specifically how the era of big data in the cloud is putting strains on the traditional “Notice and Consent” models and calls for a new model based on accountability and use:
Given today’s data-centric world, it seems clear that the use of data, rather than its collection and associated notice and consent schema, serves as a better focal point for defining the obligations related to personal information. While it might be jarring at first glance to de-emphasize the principle relating to collection, it is important to note that collection and notice principles remain relevant in the new model; the difference is that the primary focus moves away from collection and notice and towards use. Such a use model requires all organizations to be transparent, offer and honor appropriate choice (control), and ensure that risks to individuals related to data use are assessed and managed. This captures all uses (not just interactive uses that stem from bilateral relationships) and provides a governance approach that is more effective for individuals, more manageable for business, and permits better oversight by regulators.
In applying a model such as this, it is important to recognize that while there are new forms of data and new forms of data usage, there are, in the end, only three ways to think about data use: There are uses that are (1) broadly acceptable, and sometimes legally authorized or required; (2) prohibited; and (3) subject to individual sentiment (that is, the usage may be acceptable to some but reasonably objected to by others such that a blanket rule is inappropriate). It must also be recognized that while society or an individual may designate a use as acceptable or unacceptable, this view may change over time and it may be difficult to enforce a new usage rule on data that already exists (e.g., if a person makes information publicly available but later has remorse after posting, it may be impossible to exert meaningful control over the proverbial genie that has left the bottle). Still, by thinking of usage in this way, society can now decide how to create frameworks that permit the right uses to be placed in the right categories and, thereafter, how to craft appropriate “obligations” associated with particular