In preparations for the CNIL (Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés) meeting 24 September, in Montréal, Google’s Keeper of the Data, Peter Fleischer, has been on the bandwagon for a worldwide protocol for the protection of private data on the net. Fleischer spoke, on 14 September, at a conference in Strasbourg, organised by UNESCO, on the subject of “Ethics and Human Rights in Today’s World of Information.” (Figaro article, “Google soigne son image de défenseur des libertés”). See BBC report.

Attempting to corral its competitors around this protocol, Google is on a mission with a vision, as leader, to curtail the tail (see Mitch Joel’s great post on the risks of the long tail). One can only imagine the internal wranglings at Yahoo and MSN centred around technological limitations. The bulk of the discussion is based around the longevity and selection of rather ‘delicate’ information, including name, addresses, bank details, photos… Google is proposing an 18 month lifespan — a substantial improvement over infinity, but enough to continue to render one nervous about ‘what’s out there.”

In addition, Google has evidently (it’s hard for me to check) already cut the lifespan of a cookie to two years, unless the user chooses to prolong. Previously, all Google cookies were programmed to live through 2038 (you must wonder how they came up with that year…50 years on?).

I was very curious about Fleischer’s remarks that Asia-Pacific has pioneered in this area. He mentions Australia and Vietnam. No mention of China. Clearly, if China is not on board, it would seem mildly dilutive for Google to search (dare I say googlise) for a worldwide solution.

Meanwhile, our blogs and comments will likely continue with their waggly tails. Writers looking for posterity have their ideal platform. Only challenge is whether they knew what they wanted. What we say or want today may not be true for the future. I can only imagine the potential carnage for future politicians whose acne-prone keyboard inspired one too many confessions.

Of course, 18 months for my bank details actually still seems like a long time to allow a hack or a pirate to play with my moolah.

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