Whose data is it anyway?

January 2, 2008

How many of you have a Friends Reunited account? I have. Today I received a email from ITV.com asking me to take part in the beta personalisation service, which was interesting as I don’t recall actually visiting ITV.com let alone signing up for a beta. After digging around it seems that Friends Reunited was purchased by ITV.com back in December 2005. This does bring up an issue around my data which is held within Friends Reunited and the federation of that data to 3rd parties. It makes sense that when I signed up for Friends Reunited I ticked the “I agree” box for the T&C’s and didn’t actually read what it said (like most people) so my details can be shared with others. Which got me thinking….

How many web 2.o services depend upon access to the personal data within facebook, myspace, linkedin to exist – and what would happen if this “open access” was no longer open? Do these internet augury’s have the right to allow or deny access to information of which they are custodians rather than owners? Reading this Wired article on scraping (here) it seems that major information providers are taking a much more serious view on how people – and more importantly who – can get access to the data they hold.




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