I’ve been interested in online data privacy for a number of years. Many of my regular friends/readers realize this.
Back in 2003, when I was conceptualizing a "My Space" type of web site I spent a lot of time considering this issue. I decided two things were absolute – user data belongs to the user, and the user can’t be trusted with their data.
That sounds bad, not trusting users with their data – but what I meant by that was that I had too much data in too many places to manage it all – I needed tools. Tools that allowed me to protect (or selectively share) my data, tools to backup my data, etc. This was in 2003. I have a hell of a lot more data all over the Internet now then I did then. And the problem still hasn’t been solved.
Essentially the site I was designing would have let the users completely own the data – change what we knew about you, forget what you told us to forget, and safeguard what you wanted us to remember.
This was all based on a simple principle that your data belongs to you. Sure, we would monetize it when we could, but we wouldn’t control it.
Today I was a "lurker" on the "New Gang" podcast today, with Steve Gillmor the host. I didn’t get added to the call (un-muted) until the very end, but I shared my opinion on how these companies are treating my data.
And I promise that any company I am involved in will do better.
This runs a little long at about an hour. If you just want to hear my voice, skip to about 58 minutes – I chime in at the end.
But it’s an interesting conversation – one we should all be aware of.
Don’t you think you should own your social networking data?
And if you don’t own it, who will?