Good fences make for good neighbors though at times.
TechCrunch makes a valid point when it comes to the Facebook and Google squabble over FriendConnect concerning a member's own data. I would still maintain however, that (as pointed out earlier) sharing/exporting certain data that is jointly owner between myself and my connections (sometimes referred to as relation data) must be done in a manner consistent with the terms of service and within some type of consent framework (along with other items such as stronger identity, etc). For example, if we were talking about a health care social network site, would people want members to export or share that type of information easily?
But, there is a legitimate argument concerning attribute data (the information about me that is independent of any relationship formed on the social network site).
So when Robert Scoble wrote this evening that Google is in the wrong, I disagree. I think Facebook’s intentions aren’t to let users get data out of the network until Facebook is absolutely forced to do so, and then only on Facebook’s terms (see Facebook Connect). The fact is, this isn’t Facebook’s data. It’s my data. And if I give Google permission to do stuff with it, I’m damned well within my rights to do so. By blocking Google, Facebook has blocked ME. And that, frankly, kind of frustrates me.
Let me put this another way. How dare Facebook tell ME that I cannot give Google access to this data!
Scoble has been on the wrong side of this issue before, when he tried to scrape his friend’s contact information out of Facebook and export it to Plaxo. In that case, it wasn’t his data and he didn’t have the right to make it portable. It’s MY data, once again, and only I should be allowed to make that decision. He thinks his new position shows that he gets the importance of privacy, but once again he isn’t thinking in terms of who really owns the data and should be allowed to make decisions around it.
Ultimately I hope that I can keep my identity, friend list, photographs, videos and everything else that constitutes the (de)Centralized Me at any service provider that I trust (meaning I trust them to protect that data, but never go against my wishes and try to keep it to themselves if that isn’t what I want), and just tell sites like Facebook and everyone else where to grab it.