Comments

  1. @Dennis: until Scoble has been convicted by UK prosecutors it’s still an academic exercise. Though Mr. Otter brings up some interesting points, the EU’s principles are a bit vague. It’s a fascinating and insightful discussion.

  2. @Dennis: until Scoble has been convicted by UK prosecutors it’s still an academic exercise. Though Mr. Otter brings up some interesting points, the EU’s principles are a bit vague. It’s a fascinating and insightful discussion.

  3. Robert, you have my permission to scrape whatever you want off my profile. Now you only have 4,999 friends to worry about.

    Maybe Facebook should allow you to post your own “Terms of Service” where you could require that people opt-in to your using the data as a condition of you accepting them as “friends.”

    Alec, the “few tech companies start out” remark may have been flip, but it would be worth examining whether the higher level of regulation in Europe results in less entrepreneurial activity.

  4. Robert, you have my permission to scrape whatever you want off my profile. Now you only have 4,999 friends to worry about.

    Maybe Facebook should allow you to post your own “Terms of Service” where you could require that people opt-in to your using the data as a condition of you accepting them as “friends.”

    Alec, the “few tech companies start out” remark may have been flip, but it would be worth examining whether the higher level of regulation in Europe results in less entrepreneurial activity.

  5. Trust isn’t transitive – just because someone trusts you doesn’t mean they trust who you trust (Plaxo).

    In my opinion (which is shared by many, it seems) Plaxo is spamming scum who abuse data with scant regard for privacy. If you’d written the script yourself and thereby guaranteed no data went to Plaxo you might have a case.

    As it is, it’s like someone gave you your number and you gave it to a sleazy telemarketer. It’s not right.

  6. Trust isn’t transitive – just because someone trusts you doesn’t mean they trust who you trust (Plaxo).

    In my opinion (which is shared by many, it seems) Plaxo is spamming scum who abuse data with scant regard for privacy. If you’d written the script yourself and thereby guaranteed no data went to Plaxo you might have a case.

    As it is, it’s like someone gave you your number and you gave it to a sleazy telemarketer. It’s not right.

  7. As I live in Europe and are your Facebook friend, you stole my birthday, name and email… bad bad boy! shame on you^^

    Why did I publish my data there?

    I joined Facebook because I wanted to see THE social network from within and get in contact with interesting people.
    You were the one who pured the last dip into the cup with some interesting posts about the app platform and I finally joined.
    But there’s nothing more there, except the three fields mentioned above. Facebook stores more data to organize my account than i put in there ;)

    Why?
    There aren’t any real friends in there who wanna see more private things. I use Facebook as one of many gateways to other people ONLINE. Nothing more.

    My REAL friends are on a few different systems, where I publish more data and won’t add an “distant online friend” because these system lack advanced privacy controls.

    At Facebook the user is in control of his data, as long as you belief in the company.
    He can manage nearly anything about this data by now in comparison to other networks.

    But the user has no control over privacy settings for export functions…

    —- because they don’t exist yet!

    YOU now called for them.
    Facebook did the 100% right thing to stop you from collecting the data IN THAT WAY by now.

    Why?

    Sure, you’re right by saying “anyone can data out of facebook by his own eyes (or c&p of course)”.

    But automated scripts are something different and you know (probably better than me) what damage can be done by harmful ones.

    Long post, but I wanted to make this point clear:
    Thanks for using this script, it underlines the need for something like DataPortability.org

    But please admit this is pure provocation:
    “Will they guarantee not to kick people off who are trying to make their data truly “portable?””

    “user-controlled portability” please, you can have what I want you to give.

  8. As I live in Europe and are your Facebook friend, you stole my birthday, name and email… bad bad boy! shame on you^^

    Why did I publish my data there?

    I joined Facebook because I wanted to see THE social network from within and get in contact with interesting people.
    You were the one who pured the last dip into the cup with some interesting posts about the app platform and I finally joined.
    But there’s nothing more there, except the three fields mentioned above. Facebook stores more data to organize my account than i put in there ;)

    Why?
    There aren’t any real friends in there who wanna see more private things. I use Facebook as one of many gateways to other people ONLINE. Nothing more.

    My REAL friends are on a few different systems, where I publish more data and won’t add an “distant online friend” because these system lack advanced privacy controls.

    At Facebook the user is in control of his data, as long as you belief in the company.
    He can manage nearly anything about this data by now in comparison to other networks.

    But the user has no control over privacy settings for export functions…

    —- because they don’t exist yet!

    YOU now called for them.
    Facebook did the 100% right thing to stop you from collecting the data IN THAT WAY by now.

    Why?

    Sure, you’re right by saying “anyone can data out of facebook by his own eyes (or c&p of course)”.

    But automated scripts are something different and you know (probably better than me) what damage can be done by harmful ones.

    Long post, but I wanted to make this point clear:
    Thanks for using this script, it underlines the need for something like DataPortability.org

    But please admit this is pure provocation:
    “Will they guarantee not to kick people off who are trying to make their data truly “portable?””

    “user-controlled portability” please, you can have what I want you to give.

  9. I think people are taking this way too far and pulling what happened out of context so they can step up on their security soapbox. Robert’s intent was not malicious – be greatful for that people!

  10. I think people are taking this way too far and pulling what happened out of context so they can step up on their security soapbox. Robert’s intent was not malicious – be greatful for that people!

  11. @Jonas – while I laud DataPortability.org’s efforts they’re missing the legal point completely. It’s complicated and to be honest I don’t see anyone among those who are on the team capable of traversing the issues.

  12. @Jonas – while I laud DataPortability.org’s efforts they’re missing the legal point completely. It’s complicated and to be honest I don’t see anyone among those who are on the team capable of traversing the issues.

  13. Hmm. Good problem.

    I guess, you have personal information they have given and consented to you using to contact them, and thatt data is locked up in a single app.

    Now, did they consent to you communicating with them in a particular way with the data you gave them (maybe they percieve that to be the case, because they consented through mechanisms within that single application), or did they consent to you communicating with them anyway you wish, once they gave you a way of communicating with them.

    In the former case, I’d say that the data should stay locked in the app, so there is no danger of it being used to communicate with them in any other way than that in which they consented. In the second case, I’d say it was perfectly ok to move the data wholesale to applications that let you communicate with them in a different way.

    I think we need more granularity with regards to defining consent when giving permission. – what is the scope of that permission?

    It would need to be enshrined within privacy law though, rahter than internet convention / expectation or standard. If you break the terms of consent when taking advantage of the permission you have been given, there needs to be real legal consequences.

    Matt.

  14. Hmm. Good problem.

    I guess, you have personal information they have given and consented to you using to contact them, and thatt data is locked up in a single app.

    Now, did they consent to you communicating with them in a particular way with the data you gave them (maybe they percieve that to be the case, because they consented through mechanisms within that single application), or did they consent to you communicating with them anyway you wish, once they gave you a way of communicating with them.

    In the former case, I’d say that the data should stay locked in the app, so there is no danger of it being used to communicate with them in any other way than that in which they consented. In the second case, I’d say it was perfectly ok to move the data wholesale to applications that let you communicate with them in a different way.

    I think we need more granularity with regards to defining consent when giving permission. – what is the scope of that permission?

    It would need to be enshrined within privacy law though, rahter than internet convention / expectation or standard. If you break the terms of consent when taking advantage of the permission you have been given, there needs to be real legal consequences.

    Matt.

  15. Hey I was also surprised to see how many companies have private groups and use FaceBook for some guerrilla marketing stuff too…you never know what you might find there. On another topic if you get the chance check out the TabletKiosk booth, you’ll find some neat UMPCs that have modular units, you can pop on a card reader, an RFID reader, will be 11 different modules in all, hardware customization. I thought I would make quick mention as you are, I think, still a tablet freak. Got you covered on my blog too. Good show…almost forgot booth South 4 35374MP…and they will not be there on Thursday.

  16. Hey I was also surprised to see how many companies have private groups and use FaceBook for some guerrilla marketing stuff too…you never know what you might find there. On another topic if you get the chance check out the TabletKiosk booth, you’ll find some neat UMPCs that have modular units, you can pop on a card reader, an RFID reader, will be 11 different modules in all, hardware customization. I thought I would make quick mention as you are, I think, still a tablet freak. Got you covered on my blog too. Good show…almost forgot booth South 4 35374MP…and they will not be there on Thursday.

  17. I’ll have you know I was once a fairly accomplished square dancer, or perhaps the UK equivalent of a country dancer. Even entered competitions as a team you know! don’t knock square/country dancing! ;)

    I might have been 15 at the time, so what!

  18. I’ll have you know I was once a fairly accomplished square dancer, or perhaps the UK equivalent of a country dancer. Even entered competitions as a team you know! don’t knock square/country dancing! ;)

    I might have been 15 at the time, so what!

  19. The legal point is unfortunately missing, I agree with you there.

    But if these systems would have the ability to control your own privacy options for others trying to export your data into other systems, there would be barely any need to control THAT part of the game by law.

    It is still a fact that YOU have to be aware of what you put anywhere on the net.

    This is something the larger part of the (non-geek) internet userbase still does not seem to get…

  20. The legal point is unfortunately missing, I agree with you there.

    But if these systems would have the ability to control your own privacy options for others trying to export your data into other systems, there would be barely any need to control THAT part of the game by law.

    It is still a fact that YOU have to be aware of what you put anywhere on the net.

    This is something the larger part of the (non-geek) internet userbase still does not seem to get…

  21. What companies must and must not do with your data has unfortunately enforced by law, but what people like Scoble want to to is completely legal if i agree to that.

  22. What companies must and must not do with your data has unfortunately enforced by law, but what people like Scoble want to to is completely legal if i agree to that.

  23. I don’t get what everybody is flipping out about.

    I mean from my perspective it’s like the whole world has gone mad.

    Facebook to me is nothing more than the 21st century version the the good old fashion little black address book. People are essentially flipping out about the fact he is copying the information from his old black book to his new one.

    Once you give your contact info to somebody, you can’t make demands as to how said person chooses to store it. It makes no sense.

    Now if he sold your info to spammers, then I would understand people being upset. But this was not what he was doing.

    When giving away your contact info, you usually trust the person on the other end not to misuse it. But this is not what he did (or at least not intentionally).

    I also find it ironic that people are flipping out about the fact that he exported his facbook contacts to another social networking and yet nobody seems to be bothered by the fact that Facebook allows you to do the same for other sites. And the fact he broke Facebooks TOS is irrelevant. I mean he did full knowing he was breaking it and was ready to accept the consequences for it. It’s not like he is claiming he did not do anything wrong. If the fact he got a slap on the wrist angers your, it’s something you should be talking to Facebook about, not Scob.

  24. I don’t get what everybody is flipping out about.

    I mean from my perspective it’s like the whole world has gone mad.

    Facebook to me is nothing more than the 21st century version the the good old fashion little black address book. People are essentially flipping out about the fact he is copying the information from his old black book to his new one.

    Once you give your contact info to somebody, you can’t make demands as to how said person chooses to store it. It makes no sense.

    Now if he sold your info to spammers, then I would understand people being upset. But this was not what he was doing.

    When giving away your contact info, you usually trust the person on the other end not to misuse it. But this is not what he did (or at least not intentionally).

    I also find it ironic that people are flipping out about the fact that he exported his facbook contacts to another social networking and yet nobody seems to be bothered by the fact that Facebook allows you to do the same for other sites. And the fact he broke Facebooks TOS is irrelevant. I mean he did full knowing he was breaking it and was ready to accept the consequences for it. It’s not like he is claiming he did not do anything wrong. If the fact he got a slap on the wrist angers your, it’s something you should be talking to Facebook about, not Scob.

  25. @Jonas – at the end of the day you added Robert Scoble as a “friend” in a tool to support “friends” when he wasn’t actually a friend of yours. You don’t really know him, but you have entrusted him with data/information that Facebook actually intended for your friends. We may not like what he did with that data, but you did give the data to him.
    My friends in Facebook are just that – real life friends. I once had a “friend” in Facebook who was really a commercial contact. He used that Facebook relationship to spam me with commercial “opportunities”. I quickly realised that for me, Facebook wasn’t for that contact purpose and I quickly deleted him as a friend. If you’re not happy with what Robert does with your data then I suggest you delete him.
    Maybe Facebook needs more granularity to distinguish between real friends that you trust, and other contacts that you don’t?

  26. @Jonas – at the end of the day you added Robert Scoble as a “friend” in a tool to support “friends” when he wasn’t actually a friend of yours. You don’t really know him, but you have entrusted him with data/information that Facebook actually intended for your friends. We may not like what he did with that data, but you did give the data to him.
    My friends in Facebook are just that – real life friends. I once had a “friend” in Facebook who was really a commercial contact. He used that Facebook relationship to spam me with commercial “opportunities”. I quickly realised that for me, Facebook wasn’t for that contact purpose and I quickly deleted him as a friend. If you’re not happy with what Robert does with your data then I suggest you delete him.
    Maybe Facebook needs more granularity to distinguish between real friends that you trust, and other contacts that you don’t?

  27. what is the EU law you speak of :-)

    There are eu recommendations which governments then implement normally the UK does so over zealously and the French just ignore the bits they don’t like.

    though having said that social media networks don’t rely fit the data protection model that’s more about governments and business relationships with a data subject and not “friends” on social networks.

    by some of the arguments used agains Robert every one with a mobile phone who looks up a friends mobile number and gives that to another mutual friend is breaking the law in some way.

  28. what is the EU law you speak of :-)

    There are eu recommendations which governments then implement normally the UK does so over zealously and the French just ignore the bits they don’t like.

    though having said that social media networks don’t rely fit the data protection model that’s more about governments and business relationships with a data subject and not “friends” on social networks.

    by some of the arguments used agains Robert every one with a mobile phone who looks up a friends mobile number and gives that to another mutual friend is breaking the law in some way.

  29. Now, let me say it that way: These are the same EU laws, that let Blogger flee virtually out of europe, and hosting their blogs on a US-Server and writing in english.

    The remark from Robert on the tech companies are 100% right! If they don’t understand, how to treat new technologies, the unemployment rate will rise even more, than it does now.

    But to see it from a less political view: If you put your data on a service like Facebook, and give your okay to share your email-address with your Facebook-buddies, then there is no way, that grabbing this address by an automatic script is against the law, even in Europe.
    If so, there would be a basic question, what is an automatic process?
    Just think before you give out your data. If you don’t want someone to use it, you should not share it with someone on Facebook, or don’t even get no Facebook/Social community account at all, for security reasons.

  30. Now, let me say it that way: These are the same EU laws, that let Blogger flee virtually out of europe, and hosting their blogs on a US-Server and writing in english.

    The remark from Robert on the tech companies are 100% right! If they don’t understand, how to treat new technologies, the unemployment rate will rise even more, than it does now.

    But to see it from a less political view: If you put your data on a service like Facebook, and give your okay to share your email-address with your Facebook-buddies, then there is no way, that grabbing this address by an automatic script is against the law, even in Europe.
    If so, there would be a basic question, what is an automatic process?
    Just think before you give out your data. If you don’t want someone to use it, you should not share it with someone on Facebook, or don’t even get no Facebook/Social community account at all, for security reasons.

  31. The EU directive specifically exempts actions “by a natural person in the course of a purely personal or household activity.” This would probably cover friends using a cell phone. It would probably also cover Scoble, since he had no business relationship with Plaxo and didn’t use the addresses to send anyone any commercial email. The only argument against this interpretation would be that since Robert lives so much of his life on the web tha nothing he does is “personal” any more. If that’s the case then a lot of us are in trouble.

  32. The EU directive specifically exempts actions “by a natural person in the course of a purely personal or household activity.” This would probably cover friends using a cell phone. It would probably also cover Scoble, since he had no business relationship with Plaxo and didn’t use the addresses to send anyone any commercial email. The only argument against this interpretation would be that since Robert lives so much of his life on the web tha nothing he does is “personal” any more. If that’s the case then a lot of us are in trouble.

  33. “If you’re not happy with what Robert does with your data then I suggest you delete him.”
    @Paul: I fear you did not get my comments completely.

    I just want to have control over my data and I AM AWARE which data I put where – in opposite to some people who cried murder about Roberts actions. My first words were meant ironic.

    Roberts step was necessary, but Facebook’s reaction was right, too.
    Unless there is any right management for export-functions, these export functions should not exist. Neither should any export script.

    It is an ongoing process of data-organisation (or how you like to call it) Facebook has to do.
    They have to give the user more and more control over his data, parallel to educate every user in configuring the privacy options.

    Furthermore, diversification of real/online/fan friends, as Robert describes somewhere, is absolutely necessary, too.

    Or is anyones real life that “flat”, where he only has one kind of friends, he all treats the same?
    Especially if you push the limit of the term “friend” as social networks do…

  34. “If you’re not happy with what Robert does with your data then I suggest you delete him.”
    @Paul: I fear you did not get my comments completely.

    I just want to have control over my data and I AM AWARE which data I put where – in opposite to some people who cried murder about Roberts actions. My first words were meant ironic.

    Roberts step was necessary, but Facebook’s reaction was right, too.
    Unless there is any right management for export-functions, these export functions should not exist. Neither should any export script.

    It is an ongoing process of data-organisation (or how you like to call it) Facebook has to do.
    They have to give the user more and more control over his data, parallel to educate every user in configuring the privacy options.

    Furthermore, diversification of real/online/fan friends, as Robert describes somewhere, is absolutely necessary, too.

    Or is anyones real life that “flat”, where he only has one kind of friends, he all treats the same?
    Especially if you push the limit of the term “friend” as social networks do…

  35. For the ones who thinks that Scoble owns the data. Would it also be o.k. if he sold the 5,000 e-mail addresses to spammers? At the end of the day if your views are true he can do as he owns the data. Am I wrong?

  36. For the ones who thinks that Scoble owns the data. Would it also be o.k. if he sold the 5,000 e-mail addresses to spammers? At the end of the day if your views are true he can do as he owns the data. Am I wrong?

  37. I’m surprised you linked to that article, I think it makes a very flimsy argument. What it seems to gloss over is that people explicitly gave you this information by becoming your friends on facebook. You’re not culling information from strangers. It’s the equivalent of saying that if I write my friend’s birthday down on a post-it note so I don’t forget it, that I’m violating their privacy because I didn’t get permission to write it on a post-it note.

  38. I’m surprised you linked to that article, I think it makes a very flimsy argument. What it seems to gloss over is that people explicitly gave you this information by becoming your friends on facebook. You’re not culling information from strangers. It’s the equivalent of saying that if I write my friend’s birthday down on a post-it note so I don’t forget it, that I’m violating their privacy because I didn’t get permission to write it on a post-it note.

  39. If people give their data to organisations outside the remit of the European privacy laws they are not protected by them. As fas as I’m aware facebook are not a European company.

  40. If people give their data to organisations outside the remit of the European privacy laws they are not protected by them. As fas as I’m aware facebook are not a European company.

  41. I think that in this case the use of an agent provided by another company is where the problem resides, if Robert would have written a script that downloaded the said information to his pc there wouldn’t be a real issue.

    In this case the user trusted Robert, but not the company which as an agent is running the script (and in former days the name of Plaxo didn’t sound as a very reliable party to store you’re data because of their “spamming practices”.

    By befriending Robert people gave their consent to him for using this address. They did not solicit to running the risk that another company would use the data in any way..

  42. I think that in this case the use of an agent provided by another company is where the problem resides, if Robert would have written a script that downloaded the said information to his pc there wouldn’t be a real issue.

    In this case the user trusted Robert, but not the company which as an agent is running the script (and in former days the name of Plaxo didn’t sound as a very reliable party to store you’re data because of their “spamming practices”.

    By befriending Robert people gave their consent to him for using this address. They did not solicit to running the risk that another company would use the data in any way..

  43. wow, y’all need to lighten up. It’s FACEBOOK, if you don’t want to be on there, then don’t sign up. It’s a tool and those who sign up know what it’s purpose is. If you don’t know someone online, why would you trust them any more than a stranger on the street. You control who you “befriend” and who you don’t. “byer beware”

  44. wow, y’all need to lighten up. It’s FACEBOOK, if you don’t want to be on there, then don’t sign up. It’s a tool and those who sign up know what it’s purpose is. If you don’t know someone online, why would you trust them any more than a stranger on the street. You control who you “befriend” and who you don’t. “byer beware”

  45. hey robert if people will lose in such manner then how to trust on persons for geeting cumulative results for further developments especially based on coding and its parameters.

  46. hey robert if people will lose in such manner then how to trust on persons for geeting cumulative results for further developments especially based on coding and its parameters.

  47. You have a right to choose whether or not you associate with Robert. If you give anyone personal information, make sure you want them to have it. If not, don’t add them as a contact. You have a responsibility of protecting your own privacy.

    Law means little and it’s certainly isn’t an area I would care to even address. Can anyone understand the ridiculousness of what some people are saying?

    I have collected a list of contacts in my Hotmail Account, then I want to move to GMail. Do I need to contact all of my contacts to see if I can change my address book? That’s ridiculous.

    And it would be just as ridiculous to suggest 20 years ago, that my mother would need to get permission from everyone in her address book to transfer them to the new address book.

    We should be concerned with privacy issues, but if we spend our time debating about whether someone we decided was our friend and we exchanged personal data with should be able to transfer it to another service, then we will ignore the bigger issues. There are serious privacy issues out there, this is not one of them. I think EU has enough problems dealing with the loss personal data on 25 million people.

  48. You have a right to choose whether or not you associate with Robert. If you give anyone personal information, make sure you want them to have it. If not, don’t add them as a contact. You have a responsibility of protecting your own privacy.

    Law means little and it’s certainly isn’t an area I would care to even address. Can anyone understand the ridiculousness of what some people are saying?

    I have collected a list of contacts in my Hotmail Account, then I want to move to GMail. Do I need to contact all of my contacts to see if I can change my address book? That’s ridiculous.

    And it would be just as ridiculous to suggest 20 years ago, that my mother would need to get permission from everyone in her address book to transfer them to the new address book.

    We should be concerned with privacy issues, but if we spend our time debating about whether someone we decided was our friend and we exchanged personal data with should be able to transfer it to another service, then we will ignore the bigger issues. There are serious privacy issues out there, this is not one of them. I think EU has enough problems dealing with the loss personal data on 25 million people.

  49. And…? The US has no such law thankfully, and unless Bush Sr’s “new world order” has arrived unnoticed, the US still has national soverignty and the Constitution which grants Congress and Congress alone the right to pass laws.

  50. And…? The US has no such law thankfully, and unless Bush Sr’s “new world order” has arrived unnoticed, the US still has national soverignty and the Constitution which grants Congress and Congress alone the right to pass laws.

  51. @25, @30: Facebook is on the list of the US Safe Harbor Arrangement, so yes european citizens expect that Facebook follows these principles.

  52. @25, @30: Facebook is on the list of the US Safe Harbor Arrangement, so yes european citizens expect that Facebook follows these principles.