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Summary:

Making a minor splash in my newsreader yesterday was “A Bill of Rights for Users of the Social Web,” jointly composed by some folks who are pretty prominent in the growing roster of social applications that we all use and work with on a daily basis. […]

Making a minor splash in my newsreader yesterday was “A Bill of Rights for Users of the Social Web,” jointly composed by some folks who are pretty prominent in the growing roster of social applications that we all use and work with on a daily basis. The authors suggest that there are three fundamental rights that users of social applications should demand: ownership of their own information, control of information sharing, and the freedom to grant access to their own information. They go on to make demands of sites that support these rights, including syndication APIs, external links, and discovery of other users.

This certainly isn’t the first time that some form of online bill of rights has been proposed, and it undoubtedly won’t be the last. And knowing the blogosphere, there will be endless quibbling over what rights should be included, how they should be worded, and whether the folks involved have any business opening their mouths in the first place. But setting all that aside, the basic question remains: what do you, as an average user of the social web, think of the general idea? Are you concerned about the ownership of the information that you put into Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Plaxo, and all the rest? Do you worry about whether you’ll be able to share it or get it out when you want it? Or are these only the academic concerns of a few, while to the many the social web is simply a network of throwaway sites filled with stuff you don’t invest great emotion in?

  1. I don’t see how you can expect to have any rights to any information you volunteer online over and above anything that might be included in a company’s terms and conditions statement. Period.

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  2. I think the only right I would want is to retain the copyright for my information and see to it that I decided what happens to it and have the ability to export it to an open format, mainly just because if something happens to the service, i can still retain the data I need. That’s all I would need as a user.

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  3. Until there’s a constitutional amendment guaranteeing a right to privacy and an individual’s exclusive ownership of their personal and indivual indentifying information, forget about it. Nice pie in the sky, Pollyannish idea that has no weight in the realm of commerce. The only reason most of these sites exist is to trade in the information you volunteer.

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  4. As someone who has had published ideas leading in this direction (http://fooworks.com/about/ see microformats) I like this idea, but it is essentially unenforceable.

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  5. A bill of rights? Don’t think so. The whole field is still so jmuch in development that what we think of today might bne obsolete tomorrow. We seem to forget that the majority of the world population isn’t even online yet. So maybe we are still in the phase of a Magna Carta.

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  6. I think just like the blogging bill of rights, this may be something that we hear about for a day or two but it will fade away. These bill of rights are just quick headlines for the a-list bloggers who put it together in the first place.

    Nothing will change.

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  7. When SN started taking off I don’t think people realised what extent it would grow to. Now their information is on these sites and there is little that they can do about it. I tried to delete my Facebook account but they would only allow me to deactivate it and held on to all my information anyway! I think information security is very important! I agree with the bill. I don’t think it will ever be passed but I do feel that an individual should have control of their own information and have the freedom to choose when they want it to be deleted! I also think facebook and all these other sites should be more forthcoming with their terms and conditions so that people are fully aware of what they are getting themselves into!

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