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Posts Tagged ‘trust

Facebook and privacy

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It’s interesting seeing things like David Meyer’s blog “Communication Breakdown” on ZD Net, “Facebook email privacy has a hole” (Jan 12th 2008) which talk about a “discovered” bug, flaw, or issue in the social networking tool of today. In this instance, a flaw in the mobile version of the service which exposed contacts’ email addresses whether they wanted them exposed or not. Fortunately, it sounds like the flaw has been rectified not long after being spotted, but it does send a warning to developers of social software; especially in this age where the web is no longer only accessed via the desktop; with a multitude of devices connecting, each with their own set of unique applications – we have to ensure that privacy is maintained; that we don’t poke holes in an otherwise strong and secure application.

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Written by Mas

January 14, 2008 at 11:41 am

Posted in social networks

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Trust and Social networks

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A couple of interesting articles about social networks that have turned up over the past couple of days. Starting with “Memo to Santa: Ask parents before gifting tech toys (by amy Tiemann on C|net) which talks about the current craze of Hi-tech, social network aware toys (the example given is the Webkinz; although just the tip of the iceberg) that are given as gifts to children of unsuspecting parents. Some of which who are alarmed at the consumer heavy content that targets teens and pre-teens.

Next there’s Social Networks and the Importance of Trust (by Neville Hobson on WebPro News) that references Bernard Lunn on Read/WriteWeb, “2008 will be the Year of business Networking“. Hobson’s article is interesting, if a little obvious. Focusing on the need for users to trust the provider of their social network; if there is a lack-of-trust perception, then users are going to go elsewhere. As I said, a bit obvious. As is the suggestion that people will start gathering around the network that provides them with everything they require. Especially as it seems just as one network’s popularity is hit by some scandal or other (privacy, advertising, abuse of user details et al) then another springs up and is the golden child for all of five minutes.

One of the issues that came out of the Blogs and Social networks workshop, was that while it is nice to be able to make use of the existing social network sites (facebook, myspace et al) that are already in existence, most of these sites are run and managed outside of the United Kingdom. Which means the various laws we have to protect ourselves from our data falling into “the wrong hands” (which, ironically, seem to be the hands of government offices and banks the rate that news stories come out highlighting data leaks, loss and mis-management) are not in place, and cannot be used to protect ourselves. Which is why privacy advocates are always complaining in the states; in the UK, we shouldn’t need to worry – our laws should cover that abuse of our data; but in the US, it’s a whole different ball game.

This does lead to a pointer that we should develop our own internal “social networks” rather than buying into an existing one; however, we have the problem that if we don’t buy into an existing one (myspace/bebo/facebook et al) then someone else will with our names (ie. cybersquatting); so is that a problem? and if it is, how do we monitor for it?

I am concerned a little about how important social networking is becoming, and virtual social networking at that. It is a trend, and one we are being forced to embrace, one way or another; or we will miss out. But how do we generate trust from our users? Are people going to be content to continue to stumble blindly into these things, will they see that we are part of the same organization and take any advice re: social networks, be they home grown or existing, as a rubber stamped seal of approval? And how do we react in the face of adversity to maintain that trust?

Like everything in the world, it is all about trust. You don’t have the trust, you don’t have anything. That is, and always has been obvious.

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Written by Mas

December 5, 2007 at 10:43 am