Tuesday, February 08, 2005

EFF helps online service providers to minimise data collection

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has just released an interesting software product to assist online service providers in limiting the information that they collect from users. I'd describe it, but I might as well let EFF speak for itself:

EFF: Best Practices for Online Service Providers:

"Online service providers (OSPs) are vital links between their users and the Internet, offering bandwidth, email, web, and other Internet services. Because of their centrality, however, OSPs face legal pressures from all sides: from users, industry, and government. Here we offer information for people who run and use OSPs in order to help them make sound, ethical decisions about how to safeguard private data and preserve freedom of expression online.

Legal and Technical Policy Suggestions for Data Logging

As an intermediary, the OSP finds itself in a position to collect and store detailed information about its users and their online activities that may be of great interest to third parties. The USA PATRIOT Act also provides the government with expanded powers to request this information. As a result, OSP owners must deal with requests from law enforcement and lawyers to hand over private user information and logs. Yet, compliance with these demands takes away from an OSP's goal of providing users with reliable, secure network services. In this paper, EFF offers some suggestions, both legal and technical, for best practices that balance the needs of OSPs and their users' privacy and civil liberties. "

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