This new dilemma was highlighted to me yesterday as I tried to updateÂ my LinkedIn social profile to include my involvement with MajesticSEO.Â LinkedIn’s privacy statement is robust and reassuring, but they have aÂ new beta section asking me to add details about my company. TheÂ “number of employees” section was a compulsory field. Now I am notÂ especially precious about this data, but I serve many masters. MyÂ legally binding contract with MajesticSEO includes a confidentialityÂ clause, naturally. Even if it didn’t, I think that I should make itÂ just a LITTLE difficult for prying eyes to build up inside knowledgeÂ about businesses where I am not the controlling interest. What if youÂ work for TESCO. How many employees even KNOW how many people work there?
Making this a compulsory field simply made me abandon the companyÂ profile setup.
The ongoing process of disseminating information about ourselves andÂ our associates online through social networking has an insidious feelÂ about it. Even the most honorable of useful applications usuallyÂ requires us to hand over login details to complete strangers. WhilstÂ it is often in our own interests to do so, that decision is also oftenÂ not ours to make. Often we have casually promised confidentiality onÂ the one hand, then casually ignored it on the other. You think youÂ haven’t? How many online services require – in their terms – that youÂ promise to keep your password safe? Well how about paragraph 3 ofÂ Twitter’s terms:Â http://twitter.com/tos. If you are on Twitter,Â you agreed to:
You are responsible for safeguarding the password that you use to access the Services and for any activities or actions under your password.”
Or if you look at the same URL on an iphone the agreement simply says:
You are responsible for keeping your password secure”
I agreed to that too. Yet I have given my Twitter password to atÂ least the following:Â Ping.fm; Twitpic; Twittalator; Echofon; Netvibes; Friendfeed; Facebook; Some third party Facebook App; Apple and who knows who else. If we can’t share the loginsÂ with other applications. Mashed up services lose much of their value.Â But how do we reconcile breaking every agreement we enter into,Â without so much as a second thought?
OpenID was set up as a solution to this problem… But I doubt thatÂ system is infallable either. I feel Big Brother bounding in throughÂ the great big open barn door that we refuse to close or even see.Â Legislation won’t help either, if we so blatantly ignoreÂ agreements that we enter into, then legislation has already failed.