CIFIP - California Initiative For Internet Privacy - is a public effort launched in October 2006 created with help of Software Development Company Intetics.
While search firms have a legitimate business interest in using this data in reasonable ways for both ongoing business and R&D purposes, it is difficult for reasonable observers to justify the retention of this data on an indefinite basis. Similarly, while law enforcement may have a legitimate interest in certain such data for a limited period of time, the act of retaining this data indefinitely is an invitation to outside "fishing expeditions" and potential abuse. The situation is complicated further by federal efforts to promote mandatory data retention laws that could themselves require years' worth ofarchives.
Though some search firm executives have expressed public concerns about the ways in which their collected data might potentially be abused by governments and other software companies, there have been no obvious public moves on the part of these firms to systematically limit their archival of this information in easily exploited forms. Attempts so far to engage these firms in meaningful dialogues to voluntarily address such issues, including An Open Letter to Google: Concepts for a Google Privacy Initiative and Search Engine Privacy Dilemmas and Paths Toward Solutions have been met with enthusiasm by broad categories of web users, Web Developers and other interested parties except for the search firms themselves, who have apparently continued their corporate status quo approach to data retention and related issues.
Web Development Companies
It is understandable that the search firms wish to retain detailed search data. It has real value, it's relatively inexpensive to archive, and, frankly, there's just nothing stopping them from keeping this information essentially forever. However, this approach, subject solely to the changeable desires of the firms themselves, obviously does not appropriately balance privacy rights with corporate rights.
And so we find ourselves at this juncture. It is still possible and most desirable that voluntary agreements can solve many of these web and Internet privacy dilemmas, particularly relating to search query data retention, but also in many other Internet and web privacy areas. This ares can change all web software development. The direct participation of the related firms in this effort is most definitely solicited. While part of the purpose of CIFIP is to encourage such a voluntary approach, we must be prepared to move forward if necessary with legislative approaches (including voter initiative efforts, which will require large numbers of California-based volunteers to be effective), and specific preparations for this eventuality are also a major part of CIFIP's agenda. These issues affect you whether or not you are located in California, and you're cordially invited to participate in this effort.
How to Participate
If you desire more information about CIFIP or have any questions, you can e-mail a note to:
+1 (818) 225-2800 (9:30am 5:30pm Pacific Time)
You can contact us at his direct e-mail addresses as listed below. Mailing and Discussion Lists
Two relevant public mailing lists are available that you may wish to join: cifip-announce (for CIFIP announcements and related materials) and cifip-discuss (for public discussions regarding these issues).
The names and e-mail addresses on the mailing lists are private. They will be used only for the distribution of the described materials. Subscriptions are handled through an automated list system, and are free, of course. Important Note: Please do not attempt to subscribe an address that uses a "challenge-response" system for spam blocking such addresses will not be successfully subscribed. CIFIP-Announce The first list is an "announce-only" mailing list cifip-announce that is used to distribute CIFIP announcements, policy statements, or other related communications. If you want to stay informed regarding CIFIP activities but don't wish to participate in ongoing issue-oriented discussions more directly, this is the list for you. To subscribe via the Web, please visit our site.
To subscribe or unsubscribe via e-mail, please send a message (subject and body text are unnecessary and will be ignored), to either:
as appropriate. CIFIP-Discuss The second list is a public discussion list cifip-discuss where you can directly engage regarding any of these topics.
CIFIP-Discuss is a moderated discussion list the moderator will distribute to the entire readership those submitted messages that are judged to be relevant and that advance the discussions. This list will be an important forum for continuing work on these issues. You may choose to receive this list either as immediately delivered individual messages (the default setting), or as a daily digest of messages (no more than one digest per day). All messages distributed via this list are subject to being included in a publicly available message archive on this site that will be made available soon.