Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Living in a Glass House

Photo source: everystockphoto.com

Link to March 2 Mashable post, "How Companies are Mining Your Social Data".

Excerpt: Companies are mining the social web to build dossiers on you. Information posted publicly on blogs, Facebook, Twitter, forums and other sites is fair game. It is yet another reminder that people need to be aware of what they are posting on social networking sites and to whom they’re connected.

Jules Polonetsky, director and co-chair of the Future of Privacy Forum, said online users have no clue that a comment they made on a blog is being added to a database for some unknown use.

“I don’t think users expect that*,” he said, and if consumers think idle chatter and casual conversation can be used against them by institutions, it’s almost certain to create a backlash, according to Polonetsky. He said the Federal Trade Commission is right now re-examining the current privacy structure in the U.S.

But at the same time, he said consumers are always very comfortable with Amazon using data to recommend books they might like. “When users are in control of it, it’s a win-win — if they feel empowered.

*With so much evidence to the contrary, why would users "expect that"?
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