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Re: FaceBook taking over the web, and semantic web

From: Dan Brickley <danbri@danbri.org>
Date: Mon, 10 May 2010 08:24:41 +0200
Message-ID: <AANLkTinw_FpZV6nCkeBb-RARNAPbuJ-03ezfVyOauO9x@mail.gmail.com>
To: Sampo Syreeni <decoy@iki.fi>
Cc: adasal <adam.saltiel@gmail.com>, Stephane Corlosquet <scorlosquet@gmail.com>, Melvin Carvalho <melvincarvalho@gmail.com>, Matthew Rowe <m.rowe@dcs.shef.ac.uk>, semantic-web <semantic-web@w3.org>
On Mon, May 10, 2010 at 2:26 AM, Sampo Syreeni <decoy@iki.fi> wrote:
>  I'm also of the highly sharing kind, so I don't think they could violate
> my privacy even if they wanted to.
> They really don't have half the data I've already divulged online. I just
> invited my boss into my Facebook network, despite the fact that my perv
> friends' updates would then often be seen by him. Yet I'm having no online
> problem at all.

Be careful what you wish for!

People young enough to have never done anything very wrong, never had
serious conflict or major life disasters, often assume that their
future will look pretty much like the past. If their uptight boss
fires them, who cares, they're bright and could walk into another job.
If they leak private information from their crazy friends into the
public never-forgetting Web, ... well it's a big planet, you can
always make new friends. If their abusive ex-husband finds out where
they live from a leaked geotagged pic, there's always another city
they can move to, always another school that'll take on their kids....

Young people act more immortal than immoral, and the assumption that
things can only get better doesn't work out that way for everyone.

The biggest problem with data flow in online social networks is the
network bit; each participant takes responsibility not only for
sharing and leaking information about their own lives, but about their
friends, contacts, acquaintances too. The thing you should be
concerned about isn't so much the damage you might do to your own
online life by acting around so optimistically, but to others'. Every
random fb app you trustingly install, for example, gets to see much
the same information as the party who installs it; not just about you,
but about your friends.

None of us can safely predict the values and priorities of the
societies we'll be living in in 20-30 years. What we can predict is
that information about -say- youthful indiscretions will be ever
easier to track down, cross-reference and attach. And probably in a
cool 3d heads-up display setting like in the Terminator films ;)
Perhaps universal access to information will give a boost to some
older values ('He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a
stone at her'...), but ... well it's been a long time waiting for that
change in human behaviour.

We can't afford to be all "privacy is dead, get over it" about these
technologically-driven changes. Or rather, *we* probably can but we
most likely have friends, contacts and acquaintances who are less
fortunate or less technical and will pay the price of this
devil-may-care-ism. When you say things like "I don't think they could
violate my privacy even if they wanted to." you frame the discussion
in an overly individualistic manner that doesn't help people think
through the consequences of these sites sharing info about user X via
the settings and behaviours of user Y (for millions of values of X and
Y).

cheers,

Dan
Received on Monday, 10 May 2010 06:25:18 UTC

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