#PlaceConf: Location & Privacy — The Way Forward

Yesterday at the LSA’s Place Conference in New York City, before getting into where we could go, the panelists began by discussing what’s on the horizon — the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) of 2018. Coming into effect in 2020, Future of Privacy Forum’s Stacy Gray noted that the consumer rights it creates — from requests to know what information businesses have to the ability to opt out of certain transfers of such data — will apply everywhere.

Semcasting’s Ray Kingman, who recently authored an Ad Age op-ed on the subject, reiterated that while it has “noble aspects,” it was rushed into law prior to the midterm elections as a political response to a PR problem. According to Kingman, misuse is conflated with privacy and it’s not going to give consumers more choices.

Dstillery’s Peter Lenz added that solutions being discussed — like micro DMPs, which Killi’s Neil Sweeney mentioned in his presentation prior to the panel — are technical solutions to people problems.

With that, it was time to return to the topic and what an ideal privacy scenario might look like, Killi’s Neil Sweeney brought up that consumers just don’t get the value of their data. If “#leavefacebook” is there best solution to what ails Facebook, he went on, then they’re not aware of the control they could have. Kingman and Lenz felt similarly. Kingman thinks consumers don’t like misuse, but they do like personalization and Lenz believes that fear is getting in the way of educating consumers to get to Westworld’s mythical “Valley Beyond.” Location is different, according to the panelists, especially if an audit trail exists so, as Kingman pointed out, misuse can be better identified.

With that, final thoughts were shared — from Sweeney’s belief that a sovereign identity layer is key to upending how privacy is handled to Gray’s expectation that federal regulation will be the linchpin as it already has us paying for music and not questioning why we do that. Lenz put it in a historical perspective — privacy regulation, what’s here and what could come — is potentially undoing the idea of cyberspace as a place unto itself and as such could undermine the very concept of the internet we have come to understand all because we have become less able to talk to each other about a myriad of issues.

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