Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Who Do You Trust?

We all know the track record of the likes of the UK government for loosing data, or Monster.com in having it stolen but just how much stuff is really out there and what have we all disclosed about ourselves to ‘trusted parties’? Social networks potentially have the greatest exposure as not only do they have high level personal details but more importantly our thoughts, insights, likes and dislikes.

This month, Facebook updated its 175 million active users worldwide member’s terms and deleted a provision that said users could remove their content at any time, at which time the license would expire. It added new terms that said Facebook would retain users’ content and licenses after an account was terminated. So even if you want to walk away your information doesn’t!

Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook, in writing on a blog post on Monday appeared to contradict the new terms, ‘that people own their information and control who they share it with has remained constant.’ Others have suggested that, ‘ anything you upload to Facebook can be used by Facebook in any way they deem fit, forever, no matter what you do later.’

The blog post by Consumerist reportedly, received more than 300,000 views and users quickly created Facebook groups to oppose the changes.

We are reminded about a US west coast supermarket who used individual’s shopping baskets and habits to promote what they didn’t buy, get them into parts of the store they didn’t visits and to fight off any competitive threat in the neighbourhood.
As Facebook turns 5 years old and social networks evolve the balance between privacy and exploitation, the right to say no and the ‘sign here and ignore the small print’ and the we are big and therefore trusted parties may become more concerning.

Sometimes the context, the information about information, can also become more valuable that the information itself alarming.

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