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    New York Times: For Web’s New Wave, Sharing Details Is the Point

    The New York Times reports on online sites that urge the public sharing of personal data:

    A wave of Web start-ups aims to help people indulge their urge to divulge — from sites like Blippy, which [Mark] Brooks used to broadcast news of what he bought, to Foursquare, a mobile social network that allows people to announce their precise location to the world, to Skimble, an iPhone application that people use to reveal, say, how many push-ups they are doing and how long they spend in yoga class.

    Not that long ago, many were leery of using their real names on the Web, let alone sharing potentially embarrassing personal details about their shopping and lifestyle habits. But these start-ups are exploiting a mood of online openness, despite possible hidden dangers.

    “People are not necessarily thinking about how long this information will stick around, or how it could be used and exploited by marketers,” said Chris Conley, a technology and civil liberties fellow at the American Civil Liberties Union. […]

    Mr. Brooks, a 38-year-old consultant for online dating Web sites, seems to be a perfect customer. He publishes his travel schedule on Dopplr. His DNA profile is available on 23andMe. And on Blippy, he makes public everything he spends with his Chase Mastercard, along with his spending at Netflix, iTunes and Amazon.com.

    “It’s very important to me to push out my character and hopefully my good reputation as far as possible, and that means being open,” he said, dismissing any privacy concerns by adding, “I simply have nothing to hide.”

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