Why VPNs are essential regardless what others say

I tweeted during a ride on the Manchester Metrolink tram but things didn’t seem to come across as I was hoping.

My main point is the image from the mainstream media is VPNs is for pirates and the darkweb. But in actual fact its part of modern day web usage.

I was trying to tweet something but needed to look for a slide presentation which I thought I had on slideshare.net. When looking at slideshare on the metrolink wifi I got a Cisco page about content filtering.

I thought this was just because some of my slides might trigger something but nope its the whole of slideshare.net.

I was pretty annoyed about the whole thing and fired up my home VPN.

Done…

Only took my journey from MediaCityUK to St Peters Square to do all this, hence the confused tweeting. Plus I couldn’t work out where the new Google assistant saves the screenshots.

Didn’t find what I thought I had on my slideshare but I did find it elsewhere, I’ll go into details in my next blog post.

 

Dark data experiments?

Untitled - man in the dark
I have a lot of curiosity and one of the things which has consistently got me curious, is the challenges of the hidden. Hidden being the trick, the data, the technique, the place or the knowledge. This is why I’m very interested in Hacker House (it was almost added to my new years resolutions for 2017 even).

Currently data is the hidden which intrugued me the moment, hence my massive interest in data ethics. There’s been 3 experiments which have really got me jumping up and down about this all… thought I’d share while I eat cheese and drink wine on Christmas day

  • Click Click Click
    A perfect and fun demonstration of mouse tracking on websites using just JavaScript. This is the data the likes of Facebook, Google, Amazon, etc use to track users dwell time and implicit actions on the website. Found via some folks on our BBC R&D internal slack.
  • I know what you downloaded (…last summer or even last Christmas)
    This site collects IPs from public torrent swarms by parsing torrent sites and listening to the DHT network. They have more than 500.000 torrents which where classified and have data on peers sharing habits. The slightly twisted feature is the ability to share a link and see what people have been sharing. I promise not to do this but highlights the problem with shortern urls and long query strings you can’t be bother to read or don’t understand how they work (knowledge). Found via Torrentfreak
  • Find my phone
    Man’s smartphone is stolen in Amsterdam, so the same man decides to root another phone and deliberately track the phone. Along with the person who stole it! The results are turned into a video which you can watch on youtube.
    Found via Schneier

Why I stopped caring about what most people think about privacy

PUBLIC DOMAIN DEDICATION - Pixabay-Pexels digionbew 14. 01-08-16 Feet up LOW RES DSC07732

Simon Davis’ post about “Why I’ve stopped caring about what the public thinks about privacy” is such a great piece. I’m sorry to Simon but I had to copy a lot to give the full context.

To put it bluntly, I’ve stopped worrying about whether the public cares about privacy – and I believe privacy advocates should stop worrying about it too.

Unless human rights activists and their philanthropic backers abandon their focus on public opinion, the prospects for reform of mass surveillance will disintegrate.

I’ll go even further. Unless human rights activists and their philanthropic backers abandon their focus on public opinion, the prospects for reform of mass surveillance will disintegrate.

I’m aware that these thoughts might sound wildly contradictory – if not insane. Over the past three years I’ve tested them out on audiences across the world and experienced waves of disbelief. That’s one reason why I’m certain those ideas are on the right track.

In summary, my belief is that too many of us are obsessing about whether X percent of people change their default privacy settings, or whether Y+4 percent “care very much” about privacy – or indeed whether those figures went up or down in the last few months or were influenced by loaded questions, etc etc.

As advocates, we should never buy into that formula; it’s a trap. And for funding organisations to think that way is a betrayal of fundamental rights. A program director for a medium sized philanthropic foundation told me earlier this month that her board had “given up” on privacy because “we can’t measure any change in people’s habits”. I don’t see that equation being used as a measure of the importance of other rights.

In the failed rationale of opinion and user behaviour statistics, the relative importance of privacy depends on the level of active popular interest in the topic. According to some commentators, privacy is a non-issue if only a minority of people actually adopt privacy protection in their social networking or mobile use.

Imagine if that logic extended to other fundamental rights. It would mean that the right to a fair trial would be destabilized every time there was a shift in public sentiment. And it would mean that Unfair Contract protections in consumer law would never have been adopted – replaced instead with a “Buyer Beware” ideology.

Just to be clear, I’m not saying public opinion isn’t relevant. Nor am I saying that public support isn’t a laudable goal. We should always strive to positively influence thoughts and beliefs. It’s certainly true that for some specific campaigns, changing the hearts and minds of the majority is critically important.

The struggle for human rights – or indeed the struggle for progress generally – rarely depended on the involvement of the majority (or even the support of the majority).

However, on the broader level, there’s a risk that we will end up cementing both our belief system and our program objectives to the latest bar talk or some dubiously constructed stats about online user behaviour. Or, at least, the funding organisations will do so.

It seems to me we’ve been collectively sucked into the mindset that privacy protection somehow depends on scale of adoption. That populist formula is killing any hope that this fragile right will survive the overwhelming public lust for greater safety and more useful data.

I’ve noticed an enduring (and possibly growing) argument that public support for privacy is largely theoretical because relatively few people put their beliefs into practice. Conversations on that topic tend to dwell depressingly on public hypocrisy, with detractors pointing out that the general population fails to use the privacy tools that are on offer. Even worse, whole populations avidly feed off the very data streams that they claim to be wary of. Apparently this alleged public disinterest and hypocrisy invalidates arguments for stronger privacy.

(As a side point, I don’t believe that the situation is so black and white. People have become far more privacy aware in recent years, and their expectations of good practice by organisations have increased. People change their behaviour slowly over time, and yet there has been real progress in recent years.)

I also (generally) am less caring of what the general public think about these issues. In recent times, people have convinced me to join different services and tactfully decline. I do sometimes forget my world isn’t the mainstream, and wonder why are we still having these discussions.

Don’t get me wrong, its always interesting good to have the discussion, especially because most people still see privacy in a binary way but when pressed are much less binary about their decisions. A while ago I started calling it data ethics as privacy alone leaves the door open to worries about security for example.

Context and experience has a lot to do with it and in the discussion this becomes much clearer. Just ask anyone who has had their idenity stolen, hacked or abused. Most of the public will never (luckily) experience this.

I’d chalk this one up as listen to the experts

BBC RD ethics of data videos on youtube

The ethics of data videos we created a year ago are now finally on youtube for everybody to watch on the BBC R&D channel.

You might remember it was a project which I talked about last year.  I have personally refereed these videos many times and would still like to see the hours of footage we shot, be used in the future. I mean we had some great guests and a lot of what they said was gold dust.

These videos are also the first public videos to run through a new experimental R&D tool for automatically putting transcriptions into a existing video for subtitling.

If you haven’t seen the videos, this is the time to go check them out, very relevant even now, and enjoy the automated positioned subtitles.

What data is personal to you?

Alex data ethics

On International data privacy day, BBC R&D has posted a video asking a bunch of smart people what data is personal to them?

As I have been working on the project for quite sometime, I can happily say there is a lot more to come. Including ways to feedback. Go check have a look and see if you agree with the opinions of our industry experts?

You might have seen the theme of the work in the blog post ethics of data and what we setup at Mozilla Festival. Expect more in the future…

 

Ello and welcome to no pesky ads

inspired by ello, the network

Been keeping my eye on the move to create ethical social networks which don’t take the living piss with our data. Things like Tent.io, Known and now Ello are gathering some momentum…

We originally built Ello as a private social network. Over time, so many people wanted to join Ello that we built a public version of Ello for everyone to use.

Ello recently got quite serious about its non-ad and no selling of personal data.

Ad-free

Ello doesn’t sell ads. Nor do we sell data about you to third parties.

Virtually every other social network is run by advertisers. Behind the scenes they employ armies of ad salesmen and data miners to record every move you make. Data about you is then auctioned off to advertisers and data brokers. You’re the product that’s being bought and sold.

Collecting and selling your personal data, reading your posts to your friends, and mapping your social connections for profit is both creepy and unethical. Under the guise of offering a “free” service, users pay a high price in intrusive advertising and lack of privacy.

We also think ads are tacky, that they insult our intelligence and that we’re better without them.

To be fair its way off being something massive, but thats what makes it interesting I feel. I’m now on the network, so if you are interested in a invite and we are friends, drop me a email or tweet…

Do you want to know a secret?

Secret

I have installed the Secret app but everytime I look at it, can’t decide if I should sign up or not.

If you don’t know Secret app

Secret is a mobile app (iOS and finally Android) that allows people to share messages anonymously within their circle of friends, friends of friends, and publicly. It differs from other anonymous sharing apps such as PostSecret and Whisper in that it is intended for sharing primarily with friends, potentially making it more interesting and addictive for people reading the updates wondering if its a friend they know.

The problem I have is, do I trust them to keep my secrets secret? First clue is usually in the Terms of Conditions and Privacy statement.

Looking at the ToC and Privacy, theres nothing insane described but I’m sure when Facebook was first described in the EULA it was all smiles but….

We change these Terms of Service every so often. If we make changes, we will notify you by revising the date at the top of the policy and, in some cases, provide you with additional notice

I imagine after a few months the terms will change and suddenly the secrets are less ummmmm secret?

The best of the rest of Thinking Digital 2014

Thinking Digital 2014

As mentioned in the previous 2 blog posts. Thinking Digital 2014 was excellent and further proves this conference is getting better everytime.

I pulled out 2 great talks and already wrote about them previously…

But there were more great talks, worthy of talking about.

Thinking Digital 2014

Jeni Tennison
Got to love Jeni, shes wonderful, warm and so down to earth. I’ve known her from my XML/XSLT days. Her talk reminded me of the struggles and endless fight to liberate data when I was leading BBC Backstage. Those fights are almost never ending… Glad to hear some of the battles are finally being won.

Thinking Digital 2014

Meri Williams
I have known Meri for years and years and always associate her with Newcastle. But I knew she worked very internationally. Her talk was great and had me thinking alot about my own position. She said we should all be asking ourselves, “Can someone like me can be successful here?” I specially like pointers to Dan Pink’s Drive and the term seagulls management. Great talk Meri, lots to take away…

Thinking Digital 2014

Mariana Mazzucato
Never heard of Mariana but after an introduction from Chi Onwurah the local MP for Newcastle or Gateshead. Mariana launched into a massive talk, outlining how the public sector should/could act more like the private sector. Ultimately she started to debunk the myths of public vs private as she does in her book entrepreneurial state (must look into this). This renew my faith in the public sector again.

Thinking Digital 2014

Erin McKean
Returning to the Thinking Digital stage again, Erin this time turned her talk towards new types of discovery. She said discovery should be ambient and contextual. Almost feeling like serendipity. I would suggest perceptive as a way to think about this stuff?

Thinking Digital 2014

Jennifer Gardy and Peter Gregson
Another returning speakers and this time teaming up together to do something new. This time Jennifer and Peter decided to visualise DNA through the medium of music. Some artistic direction was applied but the result was beautiful.

Thinking Digital 2014

Hayley Parkes
Hayley provided more music and what stunning music. So stunning that I dare not take a picture while Hayley was playing because the sound of the prism spinning might distract from the music. I was amazed at the story of Hayley and further provides me with the joy to know that the debate over nature vs nurture is wide open.

Thinking Digital 2014

Suzy Muclahy
Following Jennifer and Peter, Suzy Muclahy explained a number of the processes in the brain and body. The most interesting one for me was the stroke, which is something like #mybrushwithdeath. I later spoke to Suzy about a number of things including #mybrushwithdeath. Such a shame we didn’t get to spend more time talking, because we were bouncing from subject to subject.

Thinking Digital 2014

Steve Mould
Wasn’t expecting much but Steve’s talk about science and ultimately self siphoning beads was funny, witty and entertaining. I especially love the dubstep remix.

Thinking Digital 2014

Jemima Kiss with Christian Payne and Meri Williams
In a nice turn around for Thinking Digital, Jemima chaired a panel discussion mainly about the post-snowden era and whereables. As you can imagine, it was all about post-snowden and Aral’s recent talk. The last 5mins was about whereables and to be fair it wasn’t anywhere as interesting as the rest of the debate. Great to hear Jemima go through the timeline of what changed since last year.

Thinking Digital 2014

Tom Scott
After Aral’s talk and the panel discussion with Jemima Kiss, the mode and tone was low. Not because of the great talks but because there was a feeling that things were not right in the digital world.

Tom Scott’s finishing talk was Tom in 2030 looking back and talking to us in 2014. The main message was don’t panic, humanity will live out and we will prevail. And he’s right, don’t get me wrong. Everything is worth fighting for, but in the end we will prevail. We owe a lot to each and everyone of the whistle-blowers, hackers, journalists, etc which help us make sense of whats happening out there. Privacy is a human right and there will be a massive backlash once people feel its gone too far. The question is when enough people think its gone far enough…?

Thinking Digital 2014

A very fitting and uplifting end to another fantastic Thinking Digital conference. I’ll be clear and say all the speakers were great and although they may not have gotten on to my highlights list, they were all great. Thanks Herb and his wonderful team for putting on yet another great show, I especially like the Q&A by the way (more questions from the crowd please!)

Tickets for 2015 are live now by the way. Looking forward to another exciting thinking digital…

Your own personal cloud

The personal or private cloud is growing in popularity and I’m starting to see it spring up in the popular tech press more and more. Interestingly I keep starting a blog post then not finishing it because theres not quite enough to talk about. Then I heard Bruce Sterling’s 2012 South by south west talk (recommended to me by Imran)

The bit which really got me was the 5 stacks part.

“[There’s] a new phenomena that I like to call the Stacks [vertically integrated social media]. And we’ve got five of them — Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple and Microsoft. The future of the stacks is basically to take over the internet and render it irrelevant. They’re not hostile to the internet — they’re just [looking after] their own situation. And they all think they’ll be the one Stack… and render the others irrelevant. And they’ll all be rendered irrelevant. That’s the future of the Stacks.

People like the Stacks, [because] the internet is scary now — so what’s the problem there? None of them offer any prosperity or security to their human participants, except for their shareholders. The internet has users. Stack people are livestock — ignorant of what’s going on, and moving from on stack to another. The Stacks really, really want to know you’re a dog.

They’re annihilating other media… The Lords of the Stacks. And they’re not bad guys — I’d be happy to buy them a beer. But really, a free people would not be so dependent on a Napoleonic mobile people. What if Mark Zuckerberg trips over a skateboard?

This structure won’t last very long… But you’re really core people for them and their interests. You are them. I’m them.

Bruce is right on the money. The 5 stacks have been trying to outdo each other for many years and see the whole thing as a zero-sum game, death to the end. This is not the way the internet or human society has to work or has to be. On the face of it, they are friendly but like a vicious dog (remember I’m not really a fan of them) they need a certain amount of caution.

Even myself are weary of how much data I hand over to Google. It may seem like I don’ t care but you would be very wrong. If I didn’t care I would sign up for Google Drive storage (I like the idea of being able to search across all my files, something which is tricky with Dropbox), would have moved from Evernote to Google Keep, etc, etc… I tend to keep my data across different stacks and deal with the migration and syncing myself. Its a bit of a pain and boy would it be easier to just dump it in Google’s cloud/stack. But I don’t want that.

I have been experimenting with my own cloud but not found anything yet which works the way I really want it to. The thing about clouds is they should merge and split or in other terms they should seamlessly blend. A personal cloud should consume and work with the other clouds. Now I understand the 5 stacks don’t really want to work with anyone else and will make there clouds/stacks difficult to inter-operate with but it can be done.

Some of you may say “Ian your dreaming…” but I point you at Trovebox which use to be Openphoto. The original idea was that you could store the photos in your own cloud and simply using an a bit of http linking and authentication, build your own decentralised flickr without handing over your actual photos. Another example is the absolute power of ifttt.com.

The lure of having a cloud which is as powerful and ubiquitous as other the other 5 clouds would be amazing. The advantages are all there but unlike the 5 clouds, you wouldn’t have to worry about it snooping on you and selling data to others. Increasingly more and more of us post Edward Snowdon.would like to something which we could exist and support our own ambitions not the shareholders.

Revelations that many governments of the world are able to collect personal data on-demand has called into question our desire and need to keep everything online. While we want to access and share our content, we want privacy and security as well. Whether it is photos on a social network or work documents in an online storage account, we want to know that we have absolute control of our data because it is ours, regardless of what services we use and regardless of how they choose to manage their Terms of Service.

Ok so were all down with Personal clouds? What are the projects I have been keeping an eye on? Cozy.io, Sparkleshare, Owncloud, Tonido and Amahi. Weirdly the last one isn’t really a Cloud but I’ve looked into turning it into a personal cloud platform.

The problem with the personal clouds is they are a long way off that ready state. They require a lot of hand cranking and can be a massive time and money hog. Which means only those knowledgeable and with enough money can afford the privacy…?

Its a shame but whats new?

Well nothing much but its fascinating what else you can do with your own cloud. I have seen a lot of activity around the idea. For example you have things like tent.io and you got to admire what Bit Torrent inc are doing in the labs, if only it was open source. Would love to use Bittorrent sync across the board but I just don’t trust it more than dropbox. In which case I might as well keep using dropbox? At least they have 2 factor authentication now and full support for Linux. Plus the amount of other cloud services which support dropbox is very high.

Ultimately if the personal cloud is going to really make a dent. It needs to be super flexible, work with others and support features which the others wouldn’t dare (bit torrent is one such feature)

Edward Snowden’s Christmas message to the UK nation

As mentioned previously, Edward Snowden’s alternative Christmas message to the UK Nation was short and packed with depth.

Ex-National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden has delivered an “alternative” UK Christmas message, urging an end to mass surveillance. The broadcast was carried on Channel 4 as an alternative to the Queen’s traditional Christmas message. Mr Snowden focused on privacy, saying: “A child born today will grow up with no conception of privacy at all.” The 30-year-old has temporary asylum in Russia after leaking details of US electronic surveillance programmes.

I’ve clipped it to Archive.org, (mp4, ogg, mkv, webm, avi) under some kind of fair use and that this should be available to all the public, wherever they be. As you can see the bit torrent sharing isn’t going so great at the moment. I did upload to Youtube but it was blocked within 4mins by the Youtube bot. Kosso also made a copy here.

So reflection of my issue trying to convince my dad yesterday, how would Snowden’s alternative Christmas message work?

“…The technology of George Orwell’s 1984 are nothing compared to what we have available today. We have sensors in our pockets that track us everywhere we go.”
 Great use of 1984, something almost everyone has heard of. Its something which keeps coming up again and again. Well here is Snowden telling you its worst than you can even imagine.
“A child born today will grow up with no conception of privacy at all. They’ll never know what it means to have a private moment to themselves, an unrecorded, unanalysed thought. And that’s a problem because privacy matters, privacy is what allows us to determine who we are and who we want to be.”
Ok so hopefully the take away is your grandchildren will never experience what you had when growing up. For the rest of us, this should make a lot more sense. Even myself who’s a very public person, will always fight for those who require and seek privacy. I know what Vince Cerf said about privacy may actually be an anomaly but we need to pursue it for the sake of the next generation.
“Together we can find a better balance, end mass surveillance and remind the government that if it really wants to know how we feel, asking is always cheaper than spying.”
Practical and simple advice. And he’s kind of right. So simple…

Me personally would happily give away parts of my privacy in return for non-surveillance and the ability to remove and delete history.

Better to know or to live in blissful ignorance?

23andme box

Following my brush with death I have taken a much deeper look at my family genes.

But one of the ultimate ways to know more is by signing up to 23 and me.

Although the idea freaks most people out, when you’ve been so close to death theres really little which can freak you out. So I have been considering the process quite a lot and looking through there material and some of the backstory of 23 and me.

Besides my thoughts of a world like Gattaca, I’m wondering if its better to know or live in a world of blissful ignorance? Although I do have to say blissful ignorance is part of the reason why I ended up in hospital. I do however wonder about 23 and me’s terms of conditions. There privacy statement is interesting too…

You may learn information about yourself that you do not anticipate. This information may evoke strong emotions and has the potential to alter your life and worldview. You may discover things about yourself that trouble you and that you may not have the ability to control or change (e.g., your father is not genetically your father, surprising facts related to your ancestry, or that someone with your genotype may have a higher than average chance of developing a specific condition or disease). These outcomes could have social, legal, or economic implications.

Genetic Information that you choose to share with your physician or other health care provider may become part of your medical record and through that route be accessible to other health care providers and/or insurance companies in the future. Genetic Information that you share with family, friends or employers may be used against your interests. Even if you share Genetic Information that has no or limited meaning today, that information could have greater meaning in the future as new discoveries are made. If you are asked by an insurance company whether you have learned Genetic Information about health conditions and you do not disclose this to them, this may be considered to be fraud.

We do not sell, lease, or rent your individual-level Personal Information without your explicit consent. As a general rule, 23andMe will not disclose your individual-level Personal Information to any third party, except under the following circumstances:

  • Partners or service providers (e.g. credit card processors or our contracted genotyping laboratory) process and/or store the information in order to help us provide, understand or improve 23andMe’s Services.
  • If you have consented for research, research contractors may access your individual-level Genetic and Self-Reported Information onsite at 23andMe’s offices for the purpose of scientific research, provided that all such research contractors will be supervised by 23andMe and subject to 23andMe’s access rules and guidelines.
  • If you have consented to use of your individual-level data in the Research Portal feature, qualified researchers (who must comply with certain requirements) may access your individual-level Genetic and/or Self-Reported Information for the purpose of scientific research, which could lead to commercial use.
  • We are required to do so by law or we do so in coordination with regulatory authorities (see the section below titled “Information Disclosure Required By Law”).
  • You have provided explicit consent for us to do so.

On a whole I don’t quite feel at ease with there terms of conditions or privacy statements. 23andme is a company and that worries me. If they were a charity or something like that, I would feel a slight bit better. How long will it be till they sell out on there users? You only have to look at what’s happened with Flickr to see the bizarre things that can happen.

So its not the information I’m worried about, its the way its stored and disclosed, now and into the future…

 

 

Top 10 Good Tech Habits

don't feel blue


Lifehacker
has a list of 10 good tech habits to have… Luckily I seems to have most of them, however its good to share them because lots of my friends have fallen fowl of some of them.

  1. Search Google Like a Pro
    Absolutely! You got to know how to use search engines fully…
  2. Back Up Your Computer
    The amount of friends who don’t do this is terrible. I don’t backup everything but the essential stuff I have backed up on Spideroak. The less important stuff I have backed up on Dropbox.
  3. Use Secure Passwords
    If I got a pound for everytime I’ve shouted Keepass!
  4. Know What Maintenance Your Computer Needs (and Doesn’t Need)
    Of course building PC’s in the past and still doing bits here and there, I certainly feel like I know my stuff, although since I moved to Ubuntu I’ve kind of lost touch with my Windows background.
  5. Be Smart About Hoaxes, Scams, and Internet Myths
    Oh I’m across this, snopes and wikipedia is your friend. Generally if you think its all makes sense
  6. Stay Safe on Public Wi-Fi
    I’m aware of the risks and never do anything serious on a non-SSL connection. I’m aware of the sniffers and have been known to throw open wireshark every once in a while.
  7. Avoid Getting Malware (and Spreading It to Others)
    Running Ubuntu over Windows means the chances of Malware is less but I’m also very aware of the risks. I usually avoid passing stuff on by just deleting them but I’ve sometimes I report them. Specially banking phishing.
  8. Keep Your Desktop and Hard Drive Free of Clutter
    Check, all good…
  9. Know When You’re Paying Too Much for a Product
    Yes although I won’t go totally out of my way for a deal, as I put a price on my time and effort
  10. Regularly Audit Your Privacy Settings on Social Networks
    My general rule applies… If its private, it shouldn’t be online. No matter what privacy settings you have check the End user licence agreement! That will tell you everything you need to know…

Public 2.0: The era of personal data openness

I was in London Thursday for the Public 2.0 conference, which the guys behind the Data Art  project put together. It was a nicely put together conference with a mix of speakers and topics.
I kicked off the day with my presentation titled The era of personal data openness.
When I was approached about doing a presentation for the data art conference. I wasn’t sure which angle to take. After a few thoughts, I decided to contact the data art guys and see what they were exactly after. After a brief chat, I decided to take the more interesting path in this presentation
The premise of the presentation is Open data from organisations like the government, companies is interesting and the movement around this has finally sunk in. There wasn’t a single government proposed agenda last year which didn’t include something about releasing more open data. And every startup and online business is building APIs, so they can take advantage of the overwhelming power of the rich ecosystem of developers, hackers and early adopters. But I’ve noticed a increase in tools and systems to take advantage of our own data and the data we generate everyday.
I was tracking this very much from the sidelines and had not found a decent way of explaining the topic of self documentation. That was till I had lunch with Rain Ashford.
We talked through a bunch of stuff but got talking about my presentation which I was due to give next day. And after describing the premise like I am now. She said it sounds a lot like Quantified Self
Bingo! Having never heard of the movement, it instantly made sense and further research clarified everything.
Quantified Self is the Era of personal Data Openness….
Its also worth noting Walter De Brouwer’s presentation at Thinking Digital also had some influence but I forgot to mention it. Two links from that session http://curetogether.comwww.patientslikeme.com all fit perfectly…

Facebook dataportability at long last

I have to give Facebook some credit, this week they launched the ability to dump your data out of facebook.

First, we’ve built an easy way to quickly download to your computer everything you’ve ever posted on Facebook and all your correspondences with friends: your messages, Wall posts, photos, status updates and profile information.

If you want a copy of the information you’ve put on Facebook for any reason, you can click a link and easily get a copy of all of it in a single download. To protect your information, this feature is only available after confirming your password and answering appropriate security questions. We’ll begin rolling out this feature to people later today, and you’ll find it under your account settings.

Second, we’re launching a new dashboard to give you visibility into how applications use your data to personalize your experience. As you start having more social and personalized experiences across the web, it’s important that you can verify exactly how other sites are using your information to make your experience better.

As this rolls out, in your Facebook privacy settings, you will have a single view of all the applications you’ve authorized and what data they use. You can also see in detail when they last accessed your data. You can change the settings for an application to make less information available to it, or you can even remove it completely.

Its a total dump and although slightly impressive on the surface, other services such as 37signals Basecamp have had the ability to export your data for a long time. Interestingly there doesn’t seem to be a way to import your data, but then again I can’t see that coming anytime soon. It will be interesting to see what happens in this area when Diaspora comes along and gains traction. I’ll actually really like to add the ability to export to twitter right now, so I can see all the tweets mentioning me which were sent to me while I was in hospital.

London Geekdinner Facebook group

Geekdinner london logo

After some minor issues with Facebook networks, I have finally sorted out a global geekdinner group on facebook. You can sign up here or search for geek dinner to find the girl geekdinner group along side the geekdinner group.

As you may have noticed in some of the blog comments else where (Regular Jen) not everyone could sign up to the previous group because I left the default network of London instead of setting it to Global. This was stupid because I even after I knew the problem I couldn't change it. So please makes ure you're signed up to the correct group (the one with the geekdinner logo not the red x).

I do make the joke that everyone is on Facebook but I won't be using Facebook as the official way to tell people about events and news. As Regular Jen points out.

The catch, as I see it, is that you still have to be a member of Facebook to view it. That is not what I would call open… it is open to members of Facebook only. That’s fine and fair and there is no reason to hold back from creating such a group, however, it absolutely divides the followers of London Geek Dinners (and London Girl Geek Dinners). You now have a group within Facebook and ‘the rest of us’

Total agreement and I expect to be using some sort of aggregation to allow good communication between the different spaces. This isn't the first time I've had this problem. It would be very easy for me to stop using our tradional geekdinner blog and setup some group on upcoming and urge people to use that instead but I don't. Instead I prefer the older comment system on the geekdinner blog and then allow sign up on upcoming.org. Ideally I would aggregate the upcoming results via there API back on the geekdinner site but this will all make sense hopefully in the near future.

I want to address something Jen talked about in the same post.

Making something very clear: this isn’t about London Geek Dinners, but the recent LGD Facebook group creation solidified a feeling I already had forming in my subconscious about Facebook dividing people. I posted about Facebook last week. I caved to social pressures and joined the service. I wish I hadn’t. I have only me to blame for that (well, and Facebook. Bastards. /images/emoticons/happy.gif.
What I hope I’ve brought forward more than anything is that every time a link is posted to a page within Facebook to the world outside of Facebook, that link (and its poster) excludes people. The ‘welcome’ page non-members get is a stark, uninviting login screen with no other content— it’s the equivalent of a giant, muscly body guard outside an exclusive club’s door. You aren’t welcome to the content within the Facebook walls unless you give up something in return, and in this case, it’s your data. Forever. I have never felt so unwelcome on a site. Even without the information brought to light by the video I linked to in another post, I felt this way.

This is not the way to start or nurture relationships. It’s high-level data mining wearing a social network cloak and at the same time subtly creates social outcasts out of the ones who want nothing to do with it.

I joined it and now I can never truly leave. Sounds dramatic, but Rachel called Facebook a new Hotel California. She’s right you know

 

 

 

I hate social networks for the sake of social networking, this includes Facebook. Facebook is the new roach motel as one of the gilmor gang use to say. I like Jen resisted till the bitter end but once they included a developer API and I started to see some applications being built I signed up.

I heard rumors that the facebook guys didn't sell to Yahoo because they are working on a operating system or something. Well currently you can certainly see how once your in facebook it would be easy to ignore most of the net if your thinking that way already. Its like the portals of the late 90's but with social networking layed through-out it. This may be all good for most people and at this very moment just about bearable for me too. I still can't find a way to put my blog rss into my facebook profile for example and I'm a sucker for owning my own data.

I think Facebook is almost unstoppable without some radical game changing from someone else. I'm hoping that other thing is open and decentralised (the first person to make the concept of FOAF work or the concept of FOAF work will bite a huge chunk out of Facebook) and puts a end to facebook but till then i'm forced to use it because thats where the attention and people are right now. Sad but true.

Please note I haven't mentioned Plaxo 3.0 or Plaxo Pulse which I'm sure will come up when I decide to do a post about lifestreams.

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