Unbound Spiral: Social Web Bill of Rights

September 10, 2007 12:03 AM

Social Web Bill of Rights. Overall, too today and not focused far enough into the future.

I'm a little bummed. It is still impossible to be in two places at the same time. So while present in India I've missed out on Office2.0 and the Data Sharing Summit and getting to discuss the Social Web Bill of Rights. Like many I could simply say I'm in; I've been a supporter, worked on the issues and written manifestos over the years.

What I believe is we are closer / closing in on a time where this is really relevant to you me and us. It's less and less a theoretical exercise. However the simplicity of what's portrayed glosses over what  "we" really require and the starting points. I'm assuming that the originators of this Bill can clarify what's required just to execute on it. So I've added my comments / questions per line. The number one test I'd apply is a 10 year thought experiment.

Will this Bill of Rights stand up in 10 years. I simply don't think so. Beyond the "I own my information" the bullets focus on profiles and sharing etc. These are simply written focused on the agendas required to more effectively interconnect the social web today. That's necessary. The real business opportunity is when each of us is provided with an empowered identity.
 

A Bill of Rights for Users of the Social Web
We publicly assert that all users of the social web are entitled to certain fundamental rights, specifically:
* Ownership of their own personal information, including: -their own profile data, -the list of people they are connected to -the activity stream of content they create;

My interpretation goes beyond whatever data I shared or fields i filled. The only way you will give be ownership of my information is if you create a public / private encryption key which enables me certain controls and contractual arrangements with site where I either create, share, reinsert or repurpose data that I have ownership and distribution rights to.

Thus: Does my data have an expiry date? I presume the above was written from a perspective of "public data". Similarly if my data changes or I change my data flow what are the contractual relationships with the site? Must the data be resynchronized? So we have expiry, synchonization controls built in.

* Control of whether and how such personal information is shared with others; and

I think this means that we have "creative commons" like arrangements for "USAGE". Eg if I share data with you... or I share with you and my friends or etc. For example if I share my data on another site... should only my friends which already have usage rights be able to see it? There need to be legal remedies for taking a screen shot and repurposing info if the authorization wasn't granted.

This also means we require an identity system that enables each and everyone of us to control access on a per relationship basis if required. For the most part we will control it by groups; friends, family, colleagues etc.

* Freedom to grant persistent access to their personal information to trusted external sites.

I think this means that if I put the information in.. then I can get it out. Frankly Twitter proves  better than any other site that if you enable individuals to repurpose and forward data through your system the value of that information grows exponentially. The determination of which sites I want to onshare my info to... or simply insert my RSS feed  should remain under my control at all times.

So to summarize....
I require meta controls a meta layer on my data that enables access. 1)Access control starts with strong encryption. I then need 2)privacy settings, 3)synchronization, 4)usage (you see this picture only in this IM exchange or for all time etc) and finally 5)expiry controls.

Sites supporting these rights shall:
* Allow their users to syndicate their own profile data, their friends list, and the data that's shared with them via the service, using a persistent URL or API token and open data formats;
* Allow their users to syndicate their own stream of activity outside the site;
* Allow their users to link from their profile pages to external identifiers in a public way; and * Allow their users to discover who else they know is also on their site, using the same external identifiers made available for lookup within the service.

As for sites supporting this. I simply don't think we are asking for either enough or setting the bar high enough. The focus is on enabling users to interconnect elements of their lifestreams using a unique identity that they have chosen. We should be insuring that all these sites where we put this data and link events or notes to our names are searchable. The real benefit to me comes when I can do the following.

When I leave a blog comment the social web means I can aggregate it back at any time simply by searching for my identity.  Currently all such activities are fragmented and lost they are not part of some stream or hooked to RSS. If we really want to be able to stream information then any action / activity that we participate in should be enabled in such a way that we can restream it out of search. In my view David W is right with everything is miscellaneous. The social web doesn't work until we've empowered data to address this.

Overall I applaud the desire here. I don't see a change coming for "us" in the short term from the techno digerati. Until we start with empowering users and providing them with control over their information at the point of initiation then we really aren't enabling "control".

Marc Canter, Robert Scoble, Mike Arrington and Joseph Smarr put together the Social Media User's Bill of Rights.

 Lots of comments on the Open Social web site. My buddy Phil Wolff also adds 18 questions. In the end many  users just don't care. The reason we are interested now is  the opportunity to lifestream our information. We've recognized that  we are tweeting, blogging, updating Facebooks etc. The real change is connectivity and learning now comes from being interconnected into social hubs. The downside is managing them and we are asking for life to be simplified.

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