15-290 / 19-211 Computers and Society

Homework 6 - due March 17, 2005

Reading assignment:
Quinn 5,
Hidden surveillance by Web sites: Web bugs in contemporary use,
Bigger Monster, Weaker Chains,
The Transparent Society

1. The CMU Data Privacy Lab has setup a website where you can view public web cams. Take a look at some of these web cams and think about their implications. Argue for or against placing privacy-related restrictions on public web cams.

2. Select two P3P-enabled web sites (see Appendix A of http://lorrie.cranor.org/pubs/p3p-census-may03.pdf for an extensive list). At each site read the human-readable privacy policy. Then use the P3P features in either Netscape 7 or IE6 to view a computer-generated policy summary. Finally, use Privacy Bird to view a computer-generated policy summary (you will need to download and install this software on a Windows computer running IE5 or IE6).
a. List the URLs of the two sites you selected
b. Describe what aspects of each privacy policy you liked and what aspects you did not like (address how well they protect privacy as well as how easy it is to understand the policy)
c. Compare the experience of reading the privacy policies with using each P3P user agent.

3. New technological developments often bring with them new privacy concerns. Pick one new-technology-related privacy concern that you believe to be particularly significant. Explain the privacy issue and why you think it is a significant concern. What might be done to mitigate the concern? Don't forget to cite relevant sources.