[LINK] Message Classifiers for Humans

Roger Clarke Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au
Tue Nov 22 11:57:51 AEDT 2011

It would be handy to have a standard vocab that declares what the 
sender of a message does and doesn't want the recipients of the 
message to do with it.

Stanford Centre for the Internet and Society (CIS) has announced a 
provider-specific implementation of a 'vocabulary' and icons.

The categories need thinking about:

(To me, the icons are rather unclear;  but they're not what matters).

Privicons Released: A User-to-User Email Privacy Tool
Ethan Forrest
November 21, 2011 - 3:04pm

We're thrilled to announce the release of Privicons for Google 
Chrome, a tool for helping users deal with email carelessness: 
innocent misunderstandings and omissions about email privacy, like 
unwanted forwards or reply-alls, that embarrass the person whose 
email is passed along without permission.

The Privicons project is an international collaboration among 
lawyers, privacy researchers, computer scientists, and designers 
based at Stanford and in Europe, all working to reduce the harms of 
email carelessness through cross-disciplinary application of design 
principles, human-computer interaction research, and legal concepts.

Privicons isn't like technical privacy solutions that use code to 
lock down communications. Instead, drawing on the work of Jonathan 
Zittrain, Lauren Gelman, and other privacy scholars, Privicons 
relies on norms-based social signals to influence users' choices 
about privacy. To convey these signals, Privicons uses a vocabulary 
of icons that clearly communicate email senders' privacy 
expectations. With the new Privicons plugin for Chrome, Gmail users 
can select from a list of these icons and attach them to their 
emails, unobtrusively but noticeably. (A Firefox plugin is next.) 
When recipients see these icons, we expect that many of them, 
motivated by neighborliness and their understanding of social norms, 
will comply with their peers' wishes and expectations.

Lauren Weinstein isn't impressed:

>Date: Mon, 21 Nov 2011 16:31:24 -0800
>To: privacy-list at vortex.com
>From: PRIVACY Forum mailing list <privacy at vortex.com>
>Subject: [ PRIVACY Forum ] Stanford's "Privicons" "email privacy 
>tool" released
>I am basically not impressed by such schemes.  My suspicion is that
>such "signals" will be overused by senders (often for bad reasons) and
>largely ignored by recipients (often for good reasons).  I'll elaborate
>on this later as appropriate.
>Lauren Weinstein (lauren at vortex.com): http://www.vortex.com/lauren
>Co-Founder: People For Internet Responsibility: http://www.pfir.org
>  - Network Neutrality Squad: http://www.nnsquad.org
>  - Global Coalition for Transparent Internet Performance: http://www.gctip.org
>  - PRIVACY Forum: http://www.vortex.com
>Member: ACM Committee on Computers and Public Policy
>Blog: http://lauren.vortex.com
>Google+: http://vortex.com/g+lauren
>Twitter: https://twitter.com/laurenweinstein
>Tel: +1 (818) 225-2800 / Skype: vortex.com
>privacy mailing list
Roger Clarke                                 http://www.rogerclarke.com/
Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd      78 Sidaway St, Chapman ACT 2611 AUSTRALIA
                    Tel: +61 2 6288 1472, and 6288 6916
mailto:Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au                http://www.xamax.com.au/

Visiting Professor in the Cyberspace Law & Policy Centre      Uni of NSW
Visiting Professor in Computer Science    Australian National University

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