“Communal” data and trust

I’m for data and information portability; you only need to read About This Blog to know I care for it, passionately, and have done so for a long while.


Not all data is mine alone. Not all data is mine to share.

So. Before we get too hung up about what’s right and what’s wrong we need to understand more about communal data.  That’s something I’ve been trying to do for a while, and something I need to continue doing.

Liquidity with privacy and accountability is not that easy to achieve. We can get there. We will get there. But only if we work together and figure out how.

7 thoughts on ““Communal” data and trust”

  1. I think we will have to be more explicit in allowing others to on-share our data – I need to tell you what data you have about me I am comfortable with you sharing further and what data you have about me that I want you to keep to yourself. I think it’s the only way it can work … but the onus is on me, not you. In the absence of explicit approval (or otherwise), how do you tell the difference?

  2. There are two ways (immediately) that I see this being a key issue (first raised here): first, if I give a system my data, I’ve made a choice that this system is trustworthy (enough) to support my reason for being there. However, if someone ON that system, by nature of social computing, now has access to this data and ports it elsewhere to a third party system without my consent, then my data is now elsewhere without my express consent.

    Second, lots of places where I’ve put my data build metadata on top of it. The metadata itself becomes the value prop. My LinkedIN profile isn’t just a digital resume. There are dozens of recommendations, building a reputation engine (what I believe is LinkedINs #1 asset, by the way). If I wander away from LinkedIN, who owns THAT data? I’d say they do, and yet, it’s data built on top of mine, and probably has very little value without me.

    And the more I pick at this in my mind, the more it feels like peeling some wallpaper off a wall, only to find the moldy crumbling plaster, and below that, the rotten stud boards.

    There’s a long way to go towards happy-go-lucky “free” data.

  3. I think it is pretty clear that privacy options are becoming more important – but just the other day I clicked the privacy link on Facebook and there are so many sliders it is easy to get lost. Myspace on the other hand afaik just has a public OR private option which is much simpler for your average user.

    The promise of the internet is the network and it seems that many startups have succeeded because they share your data by default (eg flickr, when everyone else was hiding your photos) – are we going backwards or forwards by hiding it again?

  4. Indeed. It would be sad if the only route to portability was to jettison control over one’s information.

    I’ve been pondering this since 1998 and I’m still nowhere near an answer. I like the idea of communal data, but it sits awkwardly in today’s corporatist world.

    Trust is a biggie, as is context. Data stripped from its original context is profoundly dangerous.

    Judging by your reading list, you have probably read this, http://www.amazon.com/Rumpole-Reign-Terror-Novels/dp/0670038040

    If not, I think you will enjoy it.

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