Category Archives: Controversial

How to protect your data: don’t give it away! And how Facebook isn’t to blame… much.

This won’t be popular, I know, but the election did show me very well how we can all have very differing opinions and get along like a house on fire at the same time. So here goes…

I won’t regurgitate the details, if you’re reading this you probably know what it’s about. Let’s look at this sensibly;

  1. Facebook is a web site – it’s on the World Wide Web, a globally-accessible, publicly-available open network.
  2. Your Facebook is protected by a password- that’s all. No secure server, nothing. So it’s not that secure anyway.
  3. You accepted the terms & conditions and everything that goes with them.
  4. You choose what information you put onto Facebook. Anything that can be seen publicly is as a result of your actions.

Bearing this in mind I find it hard to see why so many people are so up in arms that their ‘data’ is out there.

I will concede that Terms & Conditions are often pretty damn cheeky with lines like “we reserve the right to change these T&Cs without actually telling you” which is, in my opinion, unethical and yes, significant changes should be subject to acceptance of new terms and conditions, just like you have to accept new friend requests.

That shows that the problem is not in what Facebook is doing so much as what it asks you it can do. You give it permission to do what it’s done, then later when it actually happens and you actually realise what the unintended consequences were, you attack Facebook.

Facebook is only to blame for it’s lazy Terms and Conditions. They’re certainly not the first though and won’t be the last.

Thing is, we all know none (or very few) of us actually bother to read the T&Cs and that is no-one’s fault but our own. It’s kinda hard to expect anyone to do that when their privacy policy is reportedly longer than the U.S. constitution. I don’t honestly expect anyone to actually read that.

What I would like to see however is people taking ownership of their actions. Realising that the data is out there because they made the decision to put it out there, rather than being horrified when Facebook changes the way it publishes that data.

Facebook can only do that because you gave it your data in the first place. I only put information on the web that I’m comfortable telling any random stranger on the street. Therefore, I’m not bothered how Facebook uses that information (including making it available to third party apps & web sites) because it’s nothing sensitive.

The bottom line is, take ownership of your data. Don’t give it away if you wouldn’t be willing to tell a stranger, ’cause that’s all Facebook is – a stranger – despite the close relationships you may maintain on the site.

There is no web 1.0, 2.0 or 3.0

This is deliberately similar to my first Posterous post, “There is no new vs. old media“…

There is no web 1.0 or web 2.0 or even web 3.0. There is only the evolving web. I despise the use of the phrase “web 2.0” when it relates to web design, for example – it implies that it needs to have cool jQuery and Ajax stuff going on. You know what, if you’re building a site figure out your user need and build it using the right technologies. Don’t just build a “web 2.0” site ’cause it’s what all the cool kids are doing.

Okay, rant over. But who’s to say I’m right. Disagree at will using the comments.

This was posted via web from Philip’s posterous

Is Google deliberately pricing itself out of payment processing?

I was one of many who were shocked yesterday when Google announced the changes in Checkout processing fees. They’ve also announced that AdWords spend will no londer fund free processing of transactions.

In fact, it turns out the new fees are almost identical to PayPal’s fees.

Plenty of sellers have been complaining about the move but is it a deliberate attempt by Google to get rid of them?

The previous fees were very, very low and along with the free processing offer based on AdWords spend, Google Checkout was a very attractive alternative to the well-established PayPal.

Could this all have been a ruse to get testers for Checkout, though? It’s possible that Google was simply entering in at such a low price to deliberately get thousands of e-commerce sites on board to test the waters.

Now they’ve decided they don’t want to be in the market afterall they’re deliberately matching PayPal’s prices knowing that PayPal is a better service. It becomes a no-brainer for Checkout customers to switch to PayPal or another service.

So, nonsensical pricing structure, or deliberate exit strategy?