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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.