Sessions at SXSW Interactive 2012 about Privacy and Mobile

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Sunday 11th March 2012

  • How to Build Privacy By Design into Web and Mobile

    by Tarik Kurspahic

    Building great online and mobile products is hard enough with a small team and limited resources, so why add to the difficulty by embracing “privacy by design” principles? With so many free, easy web tools available and an “everyone else is doing it” mentality, why take time to create extra user controls and transparency? The reality is your users are starting to understand the issues and will soon demand it. You should demand it too. But most online tools compromise user privacy at some level, and almost none provide the new benefits that result when privacy is baked in from the start. So, what to do? You can build your own tools, requiring time, skill, patience, and functionality trade-offs; pay a third party for their tools; or adapt open source solutions. Or you can shrug your shoulders and roll the dice... In this session, learn how the CTO of Personal, a private personal network and data vault service, has built privacy into the company’s DNA and how you can too.

    At 12:30pm to 12:45pm, Sunday 11th March

    In Texas Ballroom 4-7, Hyatt Regency Austin

    Coverage audio clip

Monday 12th March 2012

  • Recognize This! Ethics of Mobile Face Tagging

    by Bryan Nunez and Harlo Holmes

    With the ready availability of social media, digital databases of ID photos, high-resolution cameras and free, powerful face recognition software that can run on smartphones, we are entering into an unprecedented shift in the visual privacy of everyday people. Technology that was once the domain of authoritarian states, is now being put to use by the hottest tech startups, who often lack the capacity or capability to consider the broader cultural impact.

    What right do people have to control personal images in a socially-networked age or to be visually anonymous in a video-mediated world? Startups like Viewdle are building compelling user experiences that correlate people who appear in photos taken with your smartphone, with all of the profile photos stored in your address book and social graphic. The question is, how is it decided who can be recognized and indexed, how and when, and where does control of that record reside?

    The ObscuraCam project (developed by WITNESS and the Guardian Project, funded by Google) will be shared as one countermeasure to these trends. It is a mobile app that allows users to automatically conceal faces or objects in photos and video, using pixelization, masks or redaction. It also removes extra metadata, such as GPS location, often stored in media.

    Bryan Nunez will represent WITNESS, presenting human rights advocacy driven user stories and challenges. Harlo Holmes will counter with "privacy by design" technology solutions.

    At 11:00am to 12:00pm, Monday 12th March

    In Salon J, Hilton Austin Downtown

    Coverage audio clip

Tuesday 13th March 2012

  • Mobile Privacy: Developer Kits & Tips

    by Chris Conley, Nick Doty, Tim Vetter, Kevin Mahaffey and Tara Whalen

    There are tools and tutorials out there to teach developers all sorts of things about mobile apps, taking them from "Hello World!" to sophisticated products ready for the big time. But if you want help building privacy into your app, that's a lot harder to find.

    This workshop seeks to change that. Through demos of existing resources and Q&A with attendees, we will provide you with the tools and skills you need to build the next killer mobile app while protecting your users' privacy and avoiding the media firestorms and government investigations that can kill a fledgling product.

    We'll include hands-on demos of existing apps and developer kits and tools that help you think through and address the privacy implications of the data you collect and use. We'll also discuss what other resources are needed to give designers and developers the ability to meet their deadlines, pull in revenue, and still stand up for their users' privacy.

    At 12:30pm to 1:30pm, Tuesday 13th March

    In Ballroom A, Austin Convention Center

    Coverage audio clip

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