privacy icons

Aza Raskin has posted alpha 1 of the proposed Mozilla Privacy Icons. I was at the Mozilla-sponsored get-together where this was first discussed, and I’m really happy to see this moving forward. A few quick thoughts:

  • the least useful of the icons is the “used only for intended use.” I don’t think that icon can be boolean, because what, exactly is the intended use? This is one area where an icon alone probably won’t be enough, and a web site should list the intended uses.
  • machine-readability: yes, fantastic, I’m glad this is part of the story, it’s an incredibly important aspect of how we did this at Creative Commons. Now, hopefully, unlike what Aza said at the get-together a few months ago, Mozilla will stop poo-pooing RDFa and use it, rather than define yet another one-off standard for machine-readable, HTML-embedded data. You don’t have to invent everything, right Mozilla?🙂
  • I really like the general concept of the data-retention icons. Very nice!
  • Want to be really ballsy? Default Firefox to all the green icons, and force the user to click through “you’re now okay with your data being sold” the first time they hit a site that has a red icon. The browser could even block the first time it sees a site without privacy icons, so the user is warned that there’s no telling what the site will do. It’s time the browsers start fighting back big time on privacy.

Overall, very nice work.