Archives For April 2009

>The next wave in web technology should be the inverse of social networking. I wouldn’t want to “brand” it ‘antisocial networking’, since that connotation is a bit negative, but it has a certain ring to it:)

I am amazed by the way that social networking has set aside so many people’s sense of privacy. I was quite hesitant to use Facebook, but started “using” anyway in 2007, (2007?, yeah – late to the game, yadda yadda).

So there I was finally using Facebook, reconnecting with people, wasting a LOT of time. Very cool. Right? Maybe not. This question seemed to enter my mind a lot: who owns this data and what is being done with it? Obviously, it is being datamined and sold and kept forever.

I’d rather my correspondence with my friends and family not be sliced and diced and sold – and kept as a public (or private) record. Forever. Internet users should stop and think hard about how all of this technology impacts us, and how for profit companies are selling and searching and slicing and dicing our thoughts, plans, pictures, ideas, and opinions.

I want to opt out. But, I also want to communicate in a modern, high-tech, fun way.

I use Gmail, and I have to say that it is so easy to use – they even host my personal domain mail for me. I ran my own server for about 5 years, it was not fun. Spammers ruined it for me, I couldn’t afford the bandwidth for the spam. Gmail to the rescue. But, again, my email is datamined, ads are shown, the data is kept forever by a for-profit company.

I want to opt out.

This is the challenge for real “social entrepreneurs”: we need modern, high tech, fun communications channels like Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, GChat, but these tools should be built on top of anonymity, security and privacy, (and be open source).

This is not easy. These “privy-networking” systems have to allow anonymity, security, privacy, and establish that the user owns, can copy, move or destroy the data on a whim. Oh, and they have to be easy to use too.

The fight on the privacy front is not going so well. Researchers have even figured out how to turn anonymous data into names, addreses, and phone numbers: http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2009/04/identifying_peo.html

And don’t get me started on “Warrentless Wiretapping”, which appears to continue with gusto under our new president: http://www.eff.org/press/archives/2009/04/05

The last time I checked, you were entitled to a private conversation.