Keeping An Eye On Data Portability

Fri, 2008-01-04 13:50

Looks like this week's big news across the Blogosphere is about Scobelizer getting himself banned from Facebook. I don't really have much of an opinion about that right now, except to say that everybody knew Facebook was a walled garden going in. I have not wasted much time on Facebook anyway, Twitter and IconBuffet waste all of my free time anyway.

What I would like to comment on is the apparent hypocrisy of Facebook, as explained in this post from Paul Buchheit. I have experienced some issues with data portability recently. It is one of those things that is cool and creepy at the same time.

I did try out the find friends feature on Facebook. Lucky for me the concept of handing out my Gmail password to another website was enough to put me on guard. I did change my Gmail password immediately. Facebook does state "We won't store your login or password or email anyone without your permission." I did not trust that too much given the way Facebook works. Who knows if I have already given them that permission?

I immediately regretted my decision. I did find one friend out of my hundreds of contacts. The horrifying thing was that FB was all too eager to send an invitation to everyone I had ever sent an email to. Business contacts and everything. It was way too much work to keep this from happening.

Just to prove that I am a slow learner, I did the exact same thing when I was playing with my new VOIP program. I don't really remember if Gizmo tried to spam everybody in my address book or not, but what it did do was log me out of my other chat program and transfer my chats over to it's own interface. It is possible that it would have been a Good Thing, but I was not ready at that time to make that move. Took a dig through their forums to set things right.

I am not against data portability at all, but at the moment it is all too easy for me to alert people such as the North Carolina Department of Agriculture Food Safety Inspector that I just purchased T-Rex's "Bang The Gong" from Amazon.com. Looks like I need to pay attention here.

BTW I think I do like the Gizmo VOIP program despite the chat hijacking. It might be even more fun if somebody I knew had it. I am not quite ready to post the number here, but maybe someday I will. In the meantime, you can contact me about it if you like.

Here I give you my phone number
When you worry call me
I make you happy

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