The Social Networking "Bill of Rights"

by alec on October 3, 2007

Users of the social web now have a "Bill of Rights".  Plaxo's Joseph Smarr has taken the core principles of their privacy policy, extended them to social networks, and recruited Marc Canter, Mike Arrington and Robert Scoble to support him in guaranteeing users of social networks three key principles:

  • Your Information is your own and you decide who will have access to it.
  • You maintain ownership rights to Your Information, even if there is a business transition or policy change.
  • You may add, delete, or modify Your Information at any time.
  • An interesting publicity stunt?  Or is there something more.

    I'm in the something more camp.

    Smarr is taking the basic privacy principles guaranteed in law in Canada and the EU, and extending them to all kinds of data which users might reasonably think of as personal but which the law may not provide guarantees about.  Your address book is your property, not the property of the company hosting it.  And your address book is the DNA of your social network.

    It's particularly relevant that the driver behind this effort is Plaxo.  Dogged by privacy allegations from their early days, these folks have become model citizens in the world of online privacy, and deserve kudos for what they have done and continue to do.

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