Wednesday, September 7, 2005

Thoughts on Implementing PFIF

The PeopleFinder Interchange Format has strengths and weaknesses. It's strength is that it can syndicate a missing persons request far and wide quickly and easily. It's weakness is that the more personal information you put in the PFIF record, the bigger a threat to privacy it is.

But what if you only put the minimal personal information into your RSS feed? Just the stuff required to identify that this is Bob Smith, lived on Sampson Street, in the 9th Ward, son of Doris and Kathy?

Privacy is not compromised and people who know one another can still find one another. The source URL field of a PFIF record can point back not necessarily to a record containing personal information, but a record containing the name, address and phone of the shelter where that person was located when the record was created. Privacy is safe and you can still find people.

Trusted providers can still exchange large data sets in PFIF with all kinds of personal data in them to facilitate automated matching and notification.

Lets build this stuff, people.

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