When I first launched this blog almost three years ago, it alternated items from my running life (Run) with my former job covering information security (DMZ). It was an odd fit that loosened considerably after I joined the RBF and fell apart entirely when I left journalism and IT security. I think for this year I will once again pepper this space with the occasional paranoia post because I still believe in this blog’s original mission: to make us all a little better informed about the digital and physical worlds.
With that, I today appeal directly to all of you who use Facebook. A great debate is currently underway, prompted by a big-time blogger who had his Facebook account disabled after he introduced a script to pull data from the thousands of friends he’d accumulated. (It should be noted that, despite his rock star status, this guy accepts pretty much anyone who wishes to be his friend.) The key issue is: who owns the data within the social graph? Is it the user who collected them? Or the company that stores them? Does this violate Facebook users’ privacy? Or did they sign away those rights when they accepted the terms of service?
This type of data scraping will no doubt intensify in the coming year, whether sanctioned or not. So, my dear friends (and two daughters), be careful with the data you gather and give out on social networking sites. I want you to save face.