October 21st or 22nd, 2013, Sydney Masonic Conference & Function Centre, Sydney, Australia
While Schneier’s article indicates his opinion, we see supporting evidence all around us. It is time to accept reality and think about implications and necessary actions. It is time to open our eyes, to review the situation we are in, to identify the societal and economic forces at work on a national and international level and define a way forward as a society.
We (the Semantic Web community) are responsible for the conception of technologies that enable large scale integration and mining of personal and public information in all domains of society. This brings unprecedented advantages, assists humans, organisations and systems with problem solving, enables innovation and increases productivity. It makes everything more transparent. However this transparency comes at a price: the loss of our privacy. There has been growing awareness within the community of the need to address privacy and security concerns. To date the focus has been on researching specific privacy and security models and frameworks, for example for access control, obfuscation, anonymization, aggregation, licensing, etc. However we are “putting the cart before the horse”, we need to identify clear privacy and security requirements before proposing technical solutions.
Like it or not, Schneier’s frankness is a fair representation of where we are now in terms of privacy there is none. So taking this as fact can we get our privacy back? Do we even want to get it back? What level of (non)privacy is acceptable in today's or future society? It’s clear from Schneier’s observations that technology alone is only part of the puzzle social behaviours and governmental policy also have a role to play. So far the Semantic Web community focused on using technology for web scale data integration and exposure. We have to face up to the fact that our technology is inherently a technology that changes society on a global scale. This has strong implications on how we need to look at security and privacy and what instruments we need to use or influence. These instruments are not only technological, but also societal and legal.
Given implications of our technology, what does the society evolve to? What do we want it to evolve to? What is “acceptable behavior” for data aggregation and use? What are the societal norms that we have to develop or emerge? What are the “robots.txt” equivalents that need to be developed to keep data aggregators and governments in check?
What policies and laws are already in existence and what else do we need? How do we engage meaningfully in a discussion? What do we need to do in research or policy influencing in order to make a difference? How are these policies and laws developed and supported in an inherently international environment? How do we engage with other communities, e.g., in law and policy making?
How do we technologically support the described efforts? How do we support the compliance of privacy laws? How is our increased responsibility being reflected in our scientific events and conferences?
With this workshop we aim at the following goals:
Contributions to the workshop can be made in terms of papers and reports as well as position papers addressing different issues of the stated topics of interest.
Papers and reports will be reviewed and a limited number of those will be selected for presentation.
Position contributions that generate interesting discussions in the Google Community will be selected for short presentations. Position statements may be used to select participants based on available capacity to ensure an heterogeneous audience during the Workshop.
In preparation for the Workshop we gather contributions and discussions in the PrivOn Google Community and may organise a number of Google Hangouts, eventually with broadcast via Google Hangout on Air, so we explicitly encourage position papers and discussion from those that want to contribute but may not be able to attend in the Workshop.
The workshop intends to bring together people interested in the societal impact of semantic technologies, who may be from different communities such as sociologists, law and policy makers as well as the researchers from the core semantic web community. Since there are very few opportunities for members of these different communities to interact the workshop will be highly interactive and communicative. As such we aim at a full day workshop, with formal presentations in the morning and Open Space Discussions in the afternoon. Open Space Discussions will enable us to identify fruitful topics for collaboration and follow up activities via dynamic agenda building based on shared interested. It facilitates brainstorming sessions, breakout sessions and other dynamic meeting activities. We believe applying the Open Space technique is the right way to maximise results out of this workshop.
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