PRINDEX: Privacy on the Internet Index

Various initiatives have been taken to measure different components of the virtual world. ‘Freedom on the Net’ Index, ‘Measuring Digital Rights’ are two important frameworks to measure human rights on the Internet. There are other indices that have been developed in order to:

  1. know the overall ability of citizens in a particular country to access and use new information and communication technologies;
  2. measure the tendency for countries to use the opportunities offered by information and communications technologies;
  3. track the global digital divide;
  4. measure of the capacity and willingness of countries to use e-government for ICT-led development;
  5. to assess the ‘quality and usefulness of information and services provided by a country for the purpose of engaging its citizens in public policy making through the use of e-government programs’;
  6. know the openness of governments and
  7. assess how much privacy protection nations’ populations have from both corporative and government surveillance and etc.

The E-Participation Index is to assess the ‘quality and usefulness of information and services provided by a country for the purpose of engaging its citizens in public policy making through the use of e-government programs’.[1]  The Open Data Index is an independent assessment developed by the Open Knowledge Foundation to know the openness and ranks of countries based on the availability and accessibility of information in ten key areas: transport timetables; government budget; government spending; election results; company registers; national map; national statistics; legislation; postcodes / ZIP codes; emissions of pollutants. Expert identifies that this is an important step to build fair, just and sustainable societies as this index can be used to empower citizens and organizations.[2] The UK-based Privacy International in cooperation with the US-based Electronic Privacy Information Center conduct annual surveys in order to assess how much privacy protection nations’ populations have from both corporative and government surveillance.[3] The Market Information and Statistics Unit of International Telecommunication Union launched the Digital Access Index (DAI) in 2003. This index has been developed to measures the overall ability of citizens in a particular country to access and use new information and communication technologies (ICTs). The DAI consists of eight variables[4] organized into five categories (e.g. infrastructure, affordability, knowledge and quality and actual usage).  The DAI allows countries to see how they compare to peers and their relative strengths and weaknesses in terms of using ICTs and it also provides a transparent and globally measurable way of tracking progress towards improving access to ICTs. The World Economic Forum together with INSEAD develops the Networked Readiness Index (NRI)[5] to measure the tendency for countries to use the opportunities offered by information and communications technologies. The NRI is a composite of three components:

  1. the environment for ICT offered by a given country or community (Market, political and regulatory, infrastructure environment);
  2. the readiness of the community’s key stakeholders (individuals, businesses, and governments) to use ICT, and finally
  3. the usage of ICT amongst these stakeholders.

The EMC Privacy Index 2014 examines how consumers around the globe feel and think about privacy and the security of their personal digital data.[6] No updated EMC Privacy Index has been found.

The most important research to understand the nature of privacy protection of citizens was the Privacy International’s study in 2007.[7] However, since then no assessment has been conducted by them. Also this researcher finds some limitations of the assessment conducted by the Privacy International in 2007. The assessment was conducted in order to assess how much privacy protection nations’ populations have from both corporative and government surveillance. Privacy is not only about the ‘corporative and government surveillance’. Privacy is broader than just ‘corporative and government surveillance’. Privacy can be ensured at two different levels.

  1. Policy level: Governments are developing new policies, laws and regulations to protect citizen’s privacy. Companies and other non-state actors are also developing users’ privacy policies. Developing policies, rules and regulations is the most important aspect and the first step towards protecting citizens’ privacy. Secondly,
  2. Practice level: Once governments, companies and non-state actors develop policies to protect privacy, it is also important to assess the culture of ‘practice’ to protect privacy of citizens. For example, it is also essential to identify whether giant tech companies i.e. non-state actors are actually using the Privacy Enhancing Technologies (PET) when they develop ICTs.

Thus, this researcher believes that there is a real need to developing a privacy assessment framework to assess and understand the country – level privacy.

Here, the idea of the ‘Privacy on the Internet’ Index (PRINDEX) is to measure each countries level of privacy based on a set of methodology questions developed to capture the vast range of relevant issues that qualify the privacy issue on the internet. As the issue of privacy depends on the approach and practice at multi-stakeholders level, the index proposes to measure various initiatives and practices of state and non-state actors to ensure privacy of users.

  1. State Actors
    1. Policy level – various laws, policies and regulations to protect privacy will be measured.
    2. Practice level – whether these policies, regulations and laws are being practiced by state actors and if yes, the level of practice will be measured.
  2. Non-State Actors
    1. Policy level – various policies and regulations offered by tech companies to protect privacy of users will be measured.
    2. Practice level – whether these policies and regulations are being implemented by tech companies and if yes, the level of practice will be measured.

How PRINDEX will be Calculated?

The ‘privacy on the internet’ Index will be based on 10 principles. These 10 principles will be considered as 10 main indicators of privacy on the Internet. The indicators are:

  • Consent (0-10)
  • Data Collection (0-10)
  • Purpose Limitation (0-10)
  • Data Control (0-10)
  • Data Storage (0-10)
  • Data retention and deletion (0-10)
  • Data Use (0-10)
  • Data Security (0-10)
  • Privacy by Design (0-10)
  • Accountability (0-10)

Each indicator will have a rating on a 0 to 10 scale, and the overall highest score will be 100.  Each main indicator will have several sub-indicators. There will be equal scoring for all sub-indicators. There will be numbers of techniques / questions and all techniques and questions will have equal score.

So, the ‘Privacy on the Internet’ Index will be= (I1+I2+I3….+I10)

Let us imagine there are 9 sub-indicators of indicator ‘I1’ i.e. ‘Consent’. Here the highest score of ‘a’ is 10. So, here the score of ‘I1’ would be =(SI1 + SI2 + ….SI9)= 10. Thus, the highest score of SI1 would be 10/9 (as all sub-indicators will have equal score). So, SI1 = (0- 1.11).

(Here ‘SI1’ stands for ‘sub-indicator 1’ and ‘SI2’ stands for ‘sub-indicator 2’ and so on).

Now, let us imagine there are 12 techniques or questions we are asking under sub-indicator SI1. There will be equal scoring for all questions. However, for a negative reply / answer the score will always be ‘0’.

Now, let us imagine that there are 7 positive answers and five negative answers. For each positive answer the score will be = (SI1/12) = (1.11/12) = 0.0295.

As there are seven positive answers and five negative answers, the total score of ‘SI1’ will be (0.0295 * 7) = 0.6475 (as the score for a negative answer is ‘0′).

Now, if we identify an Indicator as ‘I’, ‘sub-indicator’ as ‘SI’,  total number of question is ‘Q’, and total number of positive question is PQ and total number of Negative question is NQ. So, the ‘Privacy on the Internet’ Index will be =

Privacy on the Internet’ Index (PRINDEX) = (I1 + I2 +….I10)

Here, the Score of ‘I1’ = (SI1 + SI2 + ….SI9)

Here, the score of answer of each question = (SI1/Q)

Here the score of SI1 = (SI1/Q)*PQ

How to calculate the score of Individual Indicator (I):

Score / SI Total Questions Score / Question No. of questions with Positive answers Final Score
SI1 1 12 0.083333333 8 0.666667
SI2 1 14 0.071428571 9 0.642857
SI3 1 15 0.066666667 12 0.8
SI4 1 8 0.125 5 0.625
SI5 1 9 0.111111111 8 0.888889
SI6 1 10 0.1 9 0.9
SI7 1 7 0.142857143 4 0.571429
SI8 1 4 0.25 3 0.75
SI9 1 6 0.166666667 6 1
SI10 1 8 0.125 8 1
Total (I1) 10 7.844841

 

[1] See E-Participation at http://unpan3.un.org/egovkb/egovernment_overview/eparticipation.htm & E-participation survey 2012 at http://groups.itu.int/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=8WX1d29UnY%3D&tabid=1862

[2] Halder, B.: Assessing the openness: An inspiring example of crowdsourced research work. Available at https://tech2empower.org.in/2013/11/11/assessing-the-openness-an-inspiring-example-of-crowdsourced-research-work/ (2013).

[3] States are graded according to a mean score across fourteen criteria such as: i. Constitutional protection; ii. Statutory protection; iii. Privacy enforcement; iv. Identity cards and biometrics; v. Data-sharing; vi. Visual surveillance; vii. Communication interception; viii. Workplace monitoring; ix. Government access to data; x. Communications data retention; xi. Surveillance of medical, financial and movement; xii. Border and trans-border issues; xiii. Leadership; xiv. Democratic safeguards.

[4] The eight variables are: 1. Fixed telephone subscribers per 100 inhabitants; 2. Mobile cellular subscribers per 100 inhabitants; 3. Internet access price as percentage of Gross National Income per capita); 4. Adult literacy; 5. Combined primary, secondary and tertiary school enrolment level; 6. International Internet bandwidth (bits) per capita; 7. Broadband subscribers per 100 inhabitants; 8. Internet users per 100 inhabitants. For details please visit http://www.itu.int/ITU-D/ict/dai/.

[5] More about NRI is at http://www.weforum.org/issues/global-information-technology/thegreat-transformation/network-readiness-index

[6] Read more: https://www.emc.com/campaign/privacy-index/global.htm

[7] ChartsBin statistics collector team 2010, International Privacy Index, ChartsBin.com, viewed 20th August, 2017, <http://chartsbin.com/view/by8&gt;.

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