Telemetry Policy

Volker Krause vkrause at kde.org
Mon Aug 14 12:17:16 UTC 2017


On Sunday, 13 August 2017 12:56:27 CEST Martin Flöser wrote:
> Am 2017-08-13 11:47, schrieb Volker Krause:
> > Hi,
> > 
> > during the KUserFeedback BoF at Akademy there was quite some interest
> > in
> > collecting telemetry data in KDE applications. But before actually
> > implementing that we agreed to define the rules under which we would
> > want to
> > do that. I've tried to put the input we collected during Akademy into
> > proper
> > wording below. What do you think? Did I miss anything?
> 
> To me it looks good!
> 
> I have some additional requests:
>   * the collected data must be made available to the public (mostly
> thinking of research institutes here)

This has come up before, not in the context of 3rd parties like research 
organisations, but for transparency towards our users.

There is a practical limitation of making raw data available live, as that 
would create a publicly readable and writable system, with similar abuse 
potential as e.g. pastebin. But I don't think that is the requirement you have 
in mind here, it's more about sharing the raw data after review/eventually, 
right?

In the currently envisioned setup anyone with a KDE contributor account would 
have access, so the remaining questions would be about the practicalities and 
processes to review and release the data to the general public I think.

>   * data must be made available under a CC license (CC0?)

Interesting point, I hadn't thought about that yet :) Can we even license the 
data, as we didn't create it? Do we need to ask our users to license their 
telemetry contributions?

>   * maybe allow the user to delete the dataset again (difficult as that
> conflicts with making the data public and would require authentication
> which is the opposite to anonymity).

As discussed on kde-core-devel a while ago, I think this would be doable 
technically, without compromising anonymity. The server would generate a 
unique unpredictable token for each submitted sample and return that to the 
client. The client collects those and can use them as part of a deletion 
request.

However, this does only work as long as we have full control over the data, we 
can't recall data that has already been extracted from our systems. So I think 
this conflicts with the first two requirements you mentioned. How do we want to 
resolve that?

Regards,
Volker

> > # Telemetry Policy Draft
> > 
> > Application telemetry data can be a valuable tool for tailoring our
> > products
> > to the needs of our users. The following rules define how KDE collects
> > and
> > uses such application telemetry data. As privacy is of utmost
> > importance to
> > us, the general rule of thumb is to err on the side of caution here.
> > Privacy
> > always trumps any need for telemetry data, no matter how legitimate.
> > 
> > These rules apply to all products released by KDE.
> > 
> > ## Transparency
> > 
> > We provide detailed information about the data that is going to be
> > shared, in
> > a way that:
> > - is easy to understand
> > - is precise and complete
> > - is available locally without network connectivity
> > 
> > Any changes or additions to the telemetry functionality of an
> > application will
> > be highlighted in the corresponding release announcement.
> > 
> > ## Control
> > 
> > We give the user full control over what data they want to share with
> > KDE. In
> > particular:
> > - application telemetry is always opt-in, that is off by default
> > - application telemetry settings can be changed at any time, and are
> > provided
> > as prominent in the application interface as other application settings
> > - applications honor system-wide telemetry settings where they exist
> > (global
> > "kill switch")
> > - we provide detailed documentation about how to control the
> > application
> > telemetry system
> > 
> > In order to ensure control over the data after it has been shared with
> > KDE,
> > applications will only transmit this data to KDE servers, that is
> > servers
> > under the full control of the KDE sysadmin team.
> > 
> > We will provide a designated contact point for users who have concerns
> > about
> > the data they have shared with KDE. While we are willing to delete data
> > a user
> > no longer wants to have shared, it should be understood that the below
> > rules
> > are designed to make identification of data of a specific user
> > impossible, and
> > thus a deletion request impractical.
> > 
> > ## Anonymity
> > 
> > We do not transmit data that could be used to identify a specific user.
> > In
> > particular:
> > - we will not use any unique device, installation or user id
> > - data is stripped of any unnecessary detail and downsampled
> > appropriately
> > before sharing to avoid fingerprinting
> > - network addresses (which are exposed inevitably as part of the data
> > transmission) are not stored together with the telemetry data, and must
> > only
> > be stored or used to the extend necessary for abuse counter-measures
> > 
> > ## Minimalism
> > 
> > We only track the bare minimum of data necessary to answer specific
> > questions,
> > we do not collect data preemptively or for exploratory research. In
> > particular, this means:
> > - collected data  must have a clear purpose
> > - data is downsampled to the maximum extend possible at the source
> > - relevant correlations between individual bits of data should be
> > computed at
> > the source whenever possible
> > - data collection is stopped once corresponding question has been
> > answered
> > 
> > ## Privacy
> > 
> > We will never transmit anything containing user content, or even just
> > hints at
> > possible user content such as e.g. file names, URLs, etc.
> > 
> > We will only ever track:
> > - system information that are specific to the installation/environment,
> > but
> > independent of how the application/machine/installation is actually
> > used
> > - statistical usage data of an installation/application
> > 
> > ## Compliance
> > 
> > KDE only releases products capable of acquiring telemetry data if
> > compliance
> > with these rules has been established by a public review on
> > [kde-core-devel|
> > kde-community]@kde.org from at least two reviewers. The review has to
> > be
> > repeated for every release if changes have been made to how/what data
> > is
> > collected.
> > 
> > Received data is regularly reviewed for violations of these rules, in
> > particular for data that is prone to fingerprinting. Should such
> > violations be
> > found, the affected data will be deleted, and data recording will be
> > suspended
> > until compliance with these rules has been established again. In order
> > to
> > enable reviewing of the data, every KDE contributor with a developer
> > account
> > will have access to all telemetry data gathered by any KDE product.
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