Facebook has recently been rattling our confidence somewhat. On November 6, Facebook outlined a strategy to integrate more targeted advertising into its popular social networking website. By 5 December, the strategy had been wound back & the CEO of Facebook had offered an apology.
What was this about & what has this to do with citizens and governments?
The strategy was "Beacon". Its tracking technology included the ability to report back to Facebook when a user makes a purchase or similar transaction on a Facebook partner website. Any purchase could be broadcast to anyone who has access to the user's Facebook profile. Beacon was enabled by default but users could also opt out (if they were quick & alert & did not have a popup blocker operating), for example on each transaction.
The backlash led to the Beacon arrangement being switched over to opt in & the CEO apology.
And the link to government? What if government starts offering Web 2.0 style services then re-uses user information, be it input or user behaviour revealed by audit logs or 'friends' / community groupings etc?
Well, we have been trying to think this through. Have a look at the Cisco point of view called Safe to Play at http://www.theconnectedrepublic.org/ where IIS were the lead consultants in undertaking the work.
More anon ...
Malcolm Crompton is Managing Director of Information Integrity Solutions (IIS), a globally connected company that works with public sector and private sector organisations to help them build customer trust through respect for the customer and their personal information.