If you’re concerned about your privacy, one of the best things you can do is limit the places where you disclose anything about yourself. Sadly, it’s becoming more difficult to do that. In particular, it is becoming difficult to avoid having a presence on Facebook or Twitter, as that is becoming a requirement for participating in other activities on the Web.
For example, if you want to leave a comment at The Daily Dot, you have to have either a Facebook or a Twitter account. That’s the only way you can register. Klout gives you the choice of Facebook or Twitter. Kred requires Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. Kred also wants something from you in return for giving you access:
Kred would like to access your public profile, friend list, News Feed, notes, work history, status updates, checkins, education history, events, groups, hometown, interests, current city, photos, questions, videos, website, personal description and likes.
It’s not a request, it’s a requirement. Please don’t get me into an argument about needing to make these disclosures for the thing to work properly. That’s not the point – mostly.
In addition to sites and services that force you through social media to get access, there are others that offer their own registration process as an alternative to access through social. At some point though, you might just get tired of all that and the consequent need to keep track of a thousand different user names and passwords – and just go with Facebook or Twitter as your point of entry for everything. Here is an example of what you might get if you go that way though:
Scribd would like to access your public profile, friend list, email address and News Feed.
If you say no, you don’t pass go and you have to register separately. There you have it.
You still have the right to not access these sites and to not participate in whatever they offer. But here’s the point – there is a cost to opting out. That cost might be as low as not having access to some content that is not really all that important to you. But the cost can be higher.
Take Klout for example. For the uninitiated, Klout is a “service” that is supposed to measure people’s influence. Your Klout score is based on your profiles on social media. While that sounds like a fun game, it’s not. Your Klout Score is premised on information about you. The more access you give to your information the better chance you have to raise your Klout Score. (Apparently it’s true – the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.)
Read this article about Klout:
I’ll summarize. If you have a Klout Score (and you might now and you just don’t know it), it can affect how businesses treat you. The higher your Klout Score, the more valuable businesses see you as a customer. The article provides some examples of the goodies that a high Klout Score can provide.
Read this one too if you’re still interested at this point:
OK, you now admit there is an incentive to get onto Facebook and Twitter and start the personal disclosure process. But, you still don’t see it as mandatory and you can live without a couple of free drinks at the Ritz. Wait, there’s more. Take a look at this:
This is a job posting for a position at Salesforce. Read the last entry in Desired Skills. I’ll save you the trouble: Klout Score of 35 or higher. That’s right; a Klout Score is a factor in being hired.
Let’s sum up.
1. You have to have a presence on Twitter and/or Facebook to access certain things on the Web, and in other cases to access them more easily.
2. You have to disclose everything you can to Klout and its competitors if you don’t want an algorithm to make you look bad to others, and in particular to prospective employers.
3. Also, if you want to push up your scores you will probably have to spend a lot of time with Twitter and Facebook, so don’t make any plans for the weekend.
What does this have to do with Big Data? Lots. First, this is a lot of data – enough to be Big Data. Second, if it is your information that is being disclosed and evaluated, you have an increased chance of being affected by a data breach. Every link in the disclosure chain is a potential data breach point.
As a business, consideration must be given to the regulatory reaction to all of this. More on that in our next post. It’s a Big Deal.