This blog post is triggered by a start-up demonstration i saw at DEMOFall2009 some weeks ago.
The demo was about an iPhone application called “datecheck” aka “creepfinder”
You can find the video here.
Not that i am interested in on-line or real-life dating – i am happily married – but in essence the application allows me to do a check on my date. It basically crawls the internet, twitter, facebook, and – in the US – public data such as your real-estate tax income and even criminal records.
The end-result is that i find data about criminal records about my future fiancée, full real-estate data about what house he/she lives in, family composition, real-estate tax-income etc
The US government also is getting quite open and transparent on its own data. Have a look at www.data.gov
And these days all these data are accessible via API’s to take data OUT of these systems. Some API’s like twitter, facebook etc also allow you to INPUT data via for example Tweetdeck, Seismic, and many others. I would love to have something that not only allows me to INPUT my Tweets, but also something that allows me to input and maintain my personal profile data, across services. See also at the end of this post.
For the US government data, you see start appearing end-consumer apps that let you search through this massive amount of for example government contractor’s data with quite advanced intelligence tools in the hand of the citizen.
In stead of FBI (Federal) it’s becoming
CBI (Citizen’s Bureau of Investigation).
It says “analysis for the people, by the people”. I would add “"about the people”
All this is sold as “transparency” and “democracy”, and those are of course very important values.
But – and I don’t know about you – I start more and more FEELING quite uncomfortable about all this. Not that i have to hide anything, or that i have a criminal record (at least not that I am aware of ;-), but I do FEEL all this is quite intrusive.
As most of you know, in my previous life i was quite close to the Belgian eID project (electronic identity card). The card also allows you to access the on-line government database, where I can look at my OWN data and check who in the government has accessed those data.
But i believe we should make a big plea for the appliance of Law #1 of Kim Cameron’s Laws of Identity:
This is not Twitter specific. It applies to Facebook, Friendfeed, or any other form of social network or service.
In my opinion, i would like to have something where i can control what data about myself i want to release to what service and in what context. I update my information there once, and have also guarantee that my profile information is consistent across Twitter, Facebook or even event/conference sites that these days more and more use their own social media piece of technology.
Of course you would need a highly trusted party to deal with these data. I think i would even be prepared to pay a price for my privacy.
This concept of a central digital vault comes pretty close to eMe, the winner of the Innotribe idea-contest at Sibos 2009 some weeks ago. But they started from “mydata” and information and documents related to financial services. If you start thinking privacy and putting control of data back into the user’s hands, you get a much more powerful proposition.
I would like to hear the opinion of a number of identity and privacy experts that are following this blog
UPDATE: Can’t help it, but just at the same time as i published this post, Guy Kawasaki tweeted the following URL: