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Top 3 Privacy issues for DataPortability on Social Networks

Added on by Chris Saad.
I was asked some questions by Ouriel Ohayon to help with his upcoming presentation at Tel Aviv University. I thought I would share my answers here as well.

He asked me what I thought were the top 3 concerns for Privacy on Social Networks in a DataPortability enabled world

My answers...
  1. Perception: Privacy Concerns are somewhat over-exaggerated - just like with any new system/approach. If I email you, you get my email address. Why wouldn't the same thing happen if I 'friend' you on a social network. The question is not if Robert Scoble had a right to get the data and the data of his friends - the question is why Facebook won't let him.

    Update: I forgot to mention here that if email addresses and spam are the issue - then moving away from email addresses as a means for uniquely identifying users should help solve the issue. As Chris Messina says, we should be using OpenID instead of Email addresses for login and uniqueness checks.
  2. Control: "Privacy" is just a subset of a broader issue of "Control". Facebook and others can give lots of Privacy but ultimately give very little Control. A whole set of other Control features are needed including DataPortability support. Facebook and others like to pretend they are protecting users - but actually they are just protecting their business model. Open will always win though.

  3. Language: Privacy is a very poor, out-dated word. In a social world privacy is less of a concern than complexity and information overload. We need to move onto more practical words such as permissions and trust. Words that let users act.

Google reader set to abuse more of your Attention Data

Added on by Chris Saad.
Cross Post from the Engagd Blog:

The recent leak of Google's plans for its Google Reader product are interesting. Particularly the following point:

Very soon, Google Reader will recommend feeds to the user, based on previous subscriptions and other Google activity.

Every day, more and more applications - particularly Google Apps - are starting to use and abuse your Attention Data.

This is a growing concern that I have been tracking for some time.

From that previous post:

Are you so willing to give up your rights so easily? You are, in effect, saying that you are happy for Google to absorb all your personal data - your digital identity (incidentally your digital identity is quickly becoming a large proportion of your overall identity) - and you're going to TRUST them to be completely benevolent about it? Forever?

You want no leverage? None? You don't want any accountability? Ownership? Mobility? Economy? Transparency? Because while I love Google as much as the next person - they are not transparent. And they do not respect your Attention rights.

This brings me to my next point. Economy implies that something (property) has value (in this case your Attention Data and Attention Profile). It also implies that you can transfer your property (and its value). You can sell it and leveraged and do all sorts of fancy things. It also requires multiple participants in an ecosystem.

So to dig deeper into Sam's original question "Is Google Building the Attention Economy?" the answer is no.

Google is not building the Attention Economy. They are using their huge surface area to try to grab as much of your Attention Data as possible to target and sell ads on TV, Radio, Web and Print. They are increasingly becoming an 'Attention Aware Advertising Company'.

Another key question now is, if you have an application that displays RSS/ATOM, do you have a Personal Relevancy/Attention Data strategy? If not, your software will quickly become obsolete.

Join the APML workgroup and add Engagd functionality to your feed reader today (as others are) to make sure your feed reading efforts remain relevant (pun intended).