Wednesday, July 17, 2002

I attended a working group meeting this morning of possibly general interest. The geopriv working group is chartered with not only standardizing a format for geographical information, but also to deal with privacy issues around such information. For example, a user might publish their geographical information minute by minute to their friends, just like their instant messaging presence. Or a user might send their geographical position to a server that can respond with the nearest pharmacy or post office.

I found it quite amusing that most of the conversation I heard was about truth. Various presenters talked about how clients might want to lie about their position, or at least not be quite truthful. There was serious talk about how this affected the standard framework or protocols involved. I can't see how truth is anything but a philosophical issue, and definitely not an engineering issue. Truth may be conveyed in information and information may be conveyed in computer protocols, and protocols can't even guarantee that they are delivering information (the protocol may be given nonsense or garbage rather than information), let alone truth.

The Center for Democracy and Technology has somebody involved in geopriv, and discussed some of the basics in their one and only standards bulletin last May.

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