Update: And if done in the EU we’d ave you mate.
Update again:Jeremiah is now allowing people to direct questions to Plaxo via his blog. Well done to him. Let’s see how they react to probing questions
Update: Jeremiah basically
gave Plaxo a free pulpit where they tried to justify their actions using a smokescreen about a “Data Trust”. Total and utter bollox. Looks like they are going to roll this out and are unrepentent.
Weâ€™re going to have a conversation with Facebook (that is starting now) and will roll this feature out.
There’s a minor, gnat on a rhino’s arse issue going on around the tech blogger and twitter communities at the moment about data and Facebook. It will not change the world or unsteady it. If you are bored by this (and you should be) I’d suggest you skip this post. If you’re hardcore tech gossip nerd, then read on.
I really do like Robert Scoble and I don’t think he is malicious or someone with criminal intent. Saying that, I do think what he did today is very wrong.
So to begin: A while back Robert Scoble friended anyone on Facebook that wanted to be his friend, like he still does on Twitter. It was the in-thing that all the coolnerd kids did for a while – Friend the Scobleizer. Grand I suppose. Trouble is that the Facebook API allows any application to access the data of people I’m connected to. It can suck down their name, date of birth and other bits and pieces but NOT email address.
But then Robert decided he’d use a new unreleased tool from Plaxo to get the data on all 5000 people connected to him AND their email addresses too. Name, location, date of birth, full contact details. Alarm bells yet? Facebook’s security through obscurity meant I had limited protection if data identity thieves wanted to get my details. But now Robert has an automated tool that took disparate information and combined them. While many are happy for their data to be scattered about the place, it is through technnology and aggregation that all these pieces which were once scattered or loose are now firmly joined. This issue is about how weak identity it, but it is also about the fact that this is simply data theft in my view and Robert Scoble, a guy I have a lot of respect for is the one with the crowbar coming into my world taking things I stored on Facebook without permission. Robert broke into Facebook to get information he was not allowed.
I gave Facebook permission to store my data, I give it to Google. They give me some lightweight guarantees that they’ll be careful with it. Plaxo and I are not friends and they have not asked to hold or transport or fondle my data. Robert gets rewarded in ways with our friendship by being able to access data but this doesn’t mean I wanted him to harvest it. I’m ok with some of this information being exported but en masse? People are talking about this being a gambit for Data Portability. That’s utter bollox. That’s a smokescreen. You can campaign for data portability without stealing. You can tell me my identity is not secure without accessing my bank account. This is not some proof of concept on how insecure Facebook is either. This was a commercial move by Plaxo. If Google did this or Microsoft they’re be war.
I’d like to know what Robert is doing with my contact data and what Plaxo is also doing it it and what they are doing with the other 4,999 names, addresses, phone numbers, dates of birth and email addresses. I really hope they destroyed it right away. I’d also like to know whether Facebook will notify authorities about my data being stolen from them and see are there better ways to protect the data I invested in them?
I agree 100% at what Nick Carr said today too. Dare to a degree too.