WWW2007 Live Notes: PRIVÉ and KDDI

Presentation on PRIVÉNow sitting in a session at WWW2007, listening to a paper presentation on some research on anonymous location-based services. This research addresses a key issue with location-based services: user privacy. They have articulated a very sophisticated approach to this issue which takes into account the issues with traditional “anonomizer” type systems. These issues became front-page news (registration required) last year when it was revealed that information on search terms revealed to researchers by AOL could be used to identify individual searchers by correlating it with other easily obtainable data. AOL’s CTO was fired as a result.

The previous presentation on this track, from KDDI, was interesting but essentially boiled down to another way to render the so-called real Web on small screens. Interesting work, but a problem that I believe has a short shelf-life for two reasons. First, more and more Web sites are developing more sophisticated mobile versions, and second screen size, resolution and processing power on smart phones is making it increasingly likely that the Nokia S60 browser (and iPhone) approach to rendering the non-mobile-optimized Web will win out.

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