free html hit counter Policy Archives | Page 15 of 62 | John Battelle's Search Blog

Evil Is Subjective

By - May 16, 2008

Yet another example here.

  • Content Marquee

Boing Boing, Google, China, Art, Commerce

By - May 15, 2008

BBtv has a thought-provoking piece on some guerilla art with regard to Google and its China policy. I’ve written extensively on the background (for more, here). if you want to get to the good stuff quickly (I understand folks are busy,) the piece is long-ish, head to 4.45 min or so.

Discussion can be found here.

MySpace, Facebook, Google: Connect, Compete, Control?

By - May 12, 2008

Great news developing over the weekend around data portability, though it remains to be seen how the implementations go.

Facebook Connect:

Today we are announcing Facebook Connect. Facebook Connect is the next iteration of Facebook Platform that allows users to “connect” their Facebook identity, friends and privacy to any site. This will now enable third party websites to implement and offer even more features of Facebook Platform off of Facebook – similar to features available to third party applications today on Facebook.

MySpace Data Portability:

MySpace, the world’s most popular social network, alongside Yahoo!, eBay, Photobucket, and Twitter, today announced the launch of the MySpace ‘Data Availability’ initiative, a ground-breaking offering to empower the global MySpace community to share their public profile data to websites of their choice throughout the Internet. Today’s announcement throws open the doors to traditionally closed networks by putting users in the driver’s seat of their data and Web identity. The launch of the Data Availability initiative marks the first time that a social Website has enabled its community to dynamically share public profile information with other sites.



Google’s “Friend Connect”


Websites that are not social networks may still want to be social — and now they can be, easily. With Google Friend Connect (see http://www.google.com/friendconnect following this evening’s Campfire One), any website owner can add a snippet of code to his or her site and get social features up and running immediately without programming — picking and choosing from built-in functionality like user registration, invitations, members gallery, message posting, and reviews, as well as third-party applications built by the OpenSocial developer community.

But the key is how this is implemented, as David Recordon points out w/r/t Myspace:

At the end of the day it seems that MySpace is trying to become a large centralized profile repository on the internet. One where information might be available but certainly not allowed to be actually moved outside the network’s walls. A good try, but just as no one would like Microsoft own identity for the entire web with Passport I fail to see how others will let MySpace own all of the profiles.

"Gagging librarians is horrendous." The Internet V. FBI: Net Wins

By - May 08, 2008

Patriot-Tm

Great news for democracy:

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation has withdrawn a secret demand that the Internet Archive, an online library, provide the agency with a user’s personal information after the Web site challenged the records request in court.

The FBI sent a national security letter, or NSL, to the Internet Archive in November and included a gag order barring site founder Brewster Kahle from talking to anyone other than his lawyers about the request. Kahle, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit to challenge the subpoena, arguing that the NSL program is unconstitutional, and the FBI withdrew the NSL on April 22.

The settlement between the FBI and the Internet Archive allowed Kahle to break the gag order, a standard part of an NSL request. The Internet Archive’s challenge of the NSL is only the third case that the ACLU is aware of in which an NSL has been challenged in court, said Melissa Goodman an attorney for the civil liberties group’s National Security Project.

“The NSLs basically allow the FBI to demand extremely sensitive personal information about innocent people without any prior court approval, often in total secrecy,” Goodman said Wednesday.

I’ve covered this here, here, in my book, and a lot of other places (87 posts, according to Google. I must be on some list somewhere in the National Security offices).

In a news conference, Kahle had this to say:

“We see this as an unqualified success…The goal here was to help other recipients of NSLs … understand that you can push back on these….Gags don’t seem to be necessar. Gagging librarians is horrendous.”

Danny also covers it here.

On Health Records

By - April 17, 2008

Health

The Times reports on a New England Journal of Medicine article that raises some important questions:

In an article in The New England Journal of Medicine, two leading researchers warn that the entry of big companies like Microsoft and Google into the field of personal health records could drastically alter the practice of clinical research and raise new challenges to the privacy of patient records.

….But their concern, stated in the article published Wednesday and in an interview, is that the medical profession and policy makers have not begun to grapple with the implications of companies like Microsoft and Google becoming the hosts for vast stores of patient information.

The issue is this:

Microsoft and Google, the authors note, are not bound by the privacy restrictions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or Hipaa, the main law that regulates personal data handling and patient privacy. Hipaa, enacted in 1996, did not anticipate Web-based health records systems like the ones Microsoft and Google now offer.

The authors say that consumer control of personal data under the new, unregulated Web systems could open the door to all kinds of marketing and false advertising from parties eager for valuable patient information.

Microsoft responds saying it’s wary of government regulation. Google is not quoted as responding. I wonder what its response is to this issue?

(thanks, Marc)

Google Gamed the 700 Mhz Auction? No!

By - April 16, 2008

Republican lawmakers are crying foul:

Google Inc. manipulated a U.S. government spectrum auction by bidding just enough to trigger rules that will open a nationwide set of airwaves to any device and then walking away, Republican lawmakers said.

The so-called open-access requirements, also backed by consumer groups, may have shortchanged taxpayers by discouraging more companies from bidding, Representative Fred Upton, a Michigan Republican, said today at a hearing.

“Google was successful in gaming the system,” Upton said. The rules were a “social engineering” experiment by the Federal Communications Commission that prevented the spectrum swath, known as the C-block, from raising billions of dollars more, he said.

But they should not be surprised, this was Google’s stated intent all along.

Yahoo, Google, MySpace Launch NotFaceBook Coalition

By - March 25, 2008

Customlogo

Er…I mean the OpenSocial Foundation. This marks Yahoo’s formal joining up. Expect Facebook to join too. Wire coverage.

From a release sent to me by Yahoo:

Yahoo! supports OpenSocial; Yahoo!, MySpace and Google to form non-profit OpenSocial Foundation

Community organization to assure neutrality and longevity of specification for building social applications across the web

SUNNYVALE/LOS ANGELES/MOUNTAIN VIEW, CALIF. (March 25, 2008)—Yahoo!, MySpace, and Google today announced they have agreed to form the OpenSocial Foundation to ensure the neutrality and longevity of OpenSocial as an open, community-governed specification for building social applications across the web. Yahoo!’s support of OpenSocial and role as a founding member of the new foundation are landmarks for the rapidly growing specification which will now offer developers the potential to connect with more than 500 million people worldwide.

The OpenSocial Foundation will be an independent non-profit entity with a formal intellectual property and governance framework; related assets will be assigned to the new organization by July 1, 2008. The foundation will provide transparency and operational guidelines around technology, documentation, intellectual property, and other issues related to the evolution of the OpenSocial platform, while also ensuring all stakeholders share influence over its future direction.