The Internet Whore is worrying about that itchy feeling

I’ve had a number of conversations, idir magadh is dáiríre, lately about who knows what out there about you, me and everybody. The recent debacle in Britain about the discs lost in the internal post with personal details of 25 million citizens got a lot of people thinking about the interface between technology and human process. As a former contractor used to say to me, “That, Roseanne, is down to operational error.” Anyway this blogger has an interesting idea about all of this information: why can’t we manage our own data, revealing as much or as little as we wish?
I want control of my data (Scripting News): “I want Netflix and Yahoo to give me an XML version of my movie ratings, for me to decide what to do with. I’ve been asking for this for a couple of years, I still don’t have it. This is information I created. I want to keep a copy. I want to make sure that Netflix knows about all my Yahoo ratings and vice versa. I’d like to give a copy to Facebook (assuming they agree to not disclose it) and maybe to Amazon, so they can recommend products I might want to purchase (again keeping it to themselves). I want to begin a negotiation with various vendors, where I give them something of value, and they give me back something of value”

I know what books I have read recently and I’m quite happy for Amazon to know and to know how I rated them for example so that Amazon can automagically suggest other books to me that I might enjoy. But why does that information have to be stored by Amazon, rather than me? Speaking of which there is an application called Virtual Bookshelf on Facebook that allows you to say what you have read, what you want to read and to see what your “friends” have read. It only seems to have English-language bestsellers and there is no functionality to add in titles that aren’t for sale on Amazon. Rubbish.

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