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Sharing Personal Data

Xeni Jardin writes in Wired about Plaxo a new company started by one of the Napster founders. Like Napster, it involves P2P sharing with an index system. But this time it's personal data. See the Plaxo site and how Plaxo works. I'm not convinced.

It apparently works by taking my Outlook address book and sending a request to each addressee asking them for updates. This sounds like a spam solution to me. If I did it, all the addresses that I have automatically added to outlook would be spammed or I would have to spend considerable time editing my address book first. How will companies respond? When their employees start downloading Plaxo? Where does privacy sit and as Xeni notes... where is the business model.

I'd much prefer a real peer to peer system. Something that just automates or calls for an updated record everytime I e-mail. Or should my details change automatically update my addressees using an invisible exchange method. I see no reason why this should sit on a central server Let's hope it doesn't take off. It may be a beta, and you will have to search for the privacy policy. The privacy policy appears leave you at risk.

Comments (1)

Duff Bailey:

I just got plaxoed from an attorney I never heared of - and googled plaxo before doing as asked. The problem with Plaxo is that it violates the concept of zones of privacy that I control. Its fine if a lot of people (subject to privacy restrictions) know my general email address - but not so fine if you know my cell phone number - and there are plenty of people I would like to keep from knowing my street address, names and ages of my children, my mother and her maiden name and my families social security numbers. Yet I do have to share all of this information at various times on the web and elsewhere. If Plaxo contained a feature that allowed me to add or restrict the informaiton that each entity could get on me, it would advance the cause of web security and privacy. In it's current form, it undermines it.

Duff Bailey

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