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Privacy setting for intranet lenses


So after a general flamefest about the amazon lens we ended up with a privacy flag for lenses, where the user can request that they don't get results from the internet. Right now, writing a lens to the spec, it won't respect the privacy flag at all, however it is possible to query the status of the flag and implement privacy in the lens, I expect this will be documented at some point but it is fairly clear how to do it in the source of existing lenses. This is fine, I don't like it much, but it works and keeps people happy about not sending "termi" to the datacentre in Amazon's hollowed out volcano lair.

I want to write a lens to search intranet applications. Stuff like OpenERP, vtiger, Peoplesoft, SAP, Sage accounts etc. Things people have for their business as intranet web applications. You type in a customer reference number or invoice number and get all the stuff relating to them turn up in the lens, click a thing and you go straight to that bit of data on your intranet site. The lens would need some configuration to point it to your local server, and would need some authentication. I have this kind of working, in a hard coded demo way, it needs a tidy up, but fine, I can do that.

The problem I have is with the privacy flag. Should I respect it or not? If my system doesn't respect that flag then "OMG EVIL!!!11!!" I am sending local searches to the company system which might be logged and people might be searching for their CV that they are sending to a rival employer or all kinds of dastardly scenarios that can be manufactured to prove this is a gross violation of employee privacy and all my fault. The other possibility is that I do respect the flag. This means that to turn on my lens you need to turn on the Amazon search stuff, so I have Amazon product searches as a dependency of my lens working, plus my lens positively encourages you to type in customer references and stuff that really I don't want to search for on Amazon. I don't want my lens to only work if you send your customer reference searches over to Amazon because that would be "OMG EVIL!!!11!!" and all my fault.

I am coming to the conclusion that I can't release this because I am evil either way. The privacy flag is having a chilling effect.



I work at http://libertus.co.uk