Scoble, Facebook & Plaxo: It's a matter of trust. And fear.

This week’s blog storm centered around Robert Scoble. He temporarily lost his Facebook account because he got caught trying to scrape what he erroneously believed was “his” data into Plaxo using a script that violated Facebook’s terms of service.

My takeaway: Plaxo scares the @#^ out of me.

But before I get into that, let me say this…

It’s not about data portability. It’s about trust.

Offline, my friends and I share a mutual connection. Maybe it’s around work, maybe it’s around our kids or something in our past. Whatever it is, they’re my friend because they know something about me beyond what’s easily accessible to others. Keyword here is mutual. I know a bit about them too. Their relationship with me is unique as compared to their relationship with others.

I subscribe to a number of magazines. My relationship with those publishers is different than the one I share with my friends. I give them only as much information as they need to deliver their service to me. While I may hold their service in high regard, they are not my friends. They treat me as a commodity, easily bought…and sold. They may use what they know about me to their own advantage. Offline, no one would confuse this relationship for “friendship.”

Online, those lines are blurred. For what I would guess is at least 4,500 of the 5,000 “friends” Robert Scoble has on Facebook, he is the equivalent of a magazine publisher and you are his subscriber base/audience. He says it’s mutual and that’s the beauty of the social and connected web, but he only cares about you when you put something on the table that he’s interested in. It’s not about you. Yet, he’s “sitting” right next to your real friends, getting the same information about you that you’re sharing with them. If he takes that information and abuses it, however un- or good-intentioned, it serves you both right.

Last year, I came to the realization that I was not comfortable with this arrangement and I quietly “unfriended” him. Don’t misunderstand me…I’m not blaming Robert. He’s been very successful pushing the envelope on these sites. I’m happy for him…from a distance beyond “friendship.”

I only have around 80 contacts in my Facebook. When I get a Facebook friend request, I ask myself these questions: “Does this person know something about me that they didn’t learn from my blog or other public outlet? Do I know something about them that’s deeper than their public persona? Are they asking me out of a desire for mutual connection and respect?”

The stuff I have in Facebook isn’t that personal. But I still trust the 80 or so individuals who have access to it not to abuse that information because we have mutual affection for each other and I matter. They matter. As individuals. Friends. Not have-a-sleepover-and-do-our-nails kind of friends, but there’s care and mutual respect nonetheless. And it doesn’t matter whether or not we’ve met in person.

Robert Scoble valued his relationship with Plaxo more than he valued his relationship with his “friends,” otherwise he would have posted to them what he was doing with an experimental, alpha-quality and untested script before he did it…or he wouldn’t have done it at all.

So why does Plaxo scare me?

Because it’s a matter of trust, and I don’t trust them. Fine, you say, don’t give them any data. Oh, but that’s the scary part…it’s not my choice.

Right this minute, Plaxo probably knows your email address, your phone number, and where you work. You may have never visited their site, but if you’re online and with their how many million members there’s a good chance that someone who has you in their address book with accurate data has shared that information with Plaxo.

Fine, you say, they’re not the only web service that stores/collects this data as part of a broader web service. Oh, but that’s the scary part…midway through the game, they not only changed the rules, they changed the game.

They started being only about the data. Keep your address book up to date. If someone is a Plaxo member they can update their data and you don’t have to bother them for it. You can keep your contact data in sync between multiple devices. It was just about you and your data.

And then they changed the game. Now it’s not about the data, it’s about the relationships. They decided they were a social network. Now they not only know your email address, phone number and where you work, they know who your friends are and they know the sites you like. Not because you told them, but because they are using your friends to build your social graph. The fact that you are or are not a “member” is besides the point.

Having the information is one thing. Graphing it and building a company on the value of that graph with the potential to exploit it is something else. Taking data you’ve gathered for one purpose and then using it for something else without the users’ consent is just slimey.

Plaxo wants to get into the “new shiny” of social networking, great. I’m happy for them. Join the club, no pun intended. Start a new company. Start from scratch as a social networking site using data that you’ve gathered from people who know that you’re a social network. This got Google into trouble, too, you know. People don’t like when you change the game in the middle. Especially when it’s their data and privacy on the line.

And now Plaxo is for sale. And no one else has a problem with this?!?! If you have $100 million to spare, you can have it all. Who is going to make sure that you don’t use it for barely-legal, just-this-side-of-evil purposes? Robert Scoble?!?!

You’re right, you say. I want out, you say. I don’t want a company on the edge of being handed over to new management to know that much about me and my relationships. Oh, but that’s the scary part…you can’t get out. Because you never consented to get in.

Plaxo gives absolutely no option to remove what they know about you and your connections from their database, member or not. You can choose not to join, you can cancel and delete your account once you do join (as I did). You can even opt-out and they won’t contact you. But that doesn’t mean that they’ll remove your data and the connections they’ve graphed about you and your relationships from their systems.

And let’s say you get Plaxo to take you completely out. 30 minutes later a friend adds you to their address book and decides, as is their right, to sync that data to Plaxo and you’re right back in. You may not have an account, but they know that you’re a contact in Joe Member’s list and Mary Member’s list and…

I chose to join Facebook. I chose to join LinkedIn. I chose to be on Twitter, knowing full well that what I say there is publicly available to folks who want to look for it. Until I accepted that first friend request or signed up, while someone could have information about me on those servers…maybe as a note or in another context, the company was not making connections about what they knew about my relationships. And if they were, they certainly weren’t bragging about it.

Plaxo is dangerous as well as scary.

When they sell, what will be the next game the new (or existing) owners will play with your data and relationships?

Scary.

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49 thoughts on “Scoble, Facebook & Plaxo: It's a matter of trust. And fear.

  1. Thanks for putting this into perspective – I watched pieces of the Twitter storm roll along, but I didn’t have time to dive into the details. You summarized it nicely and managed to crystallize my own vague doubts into reasonable, clear objections.

  2. Plaxo also scares me, but that’s because both times I tried the service — once years ago, and once a few months ago — I was always paranoid that they were going to mass email all of my contacts without my permission. I can’t pinpoint why they made me feel that way, exactly, but I’m just fine without it.

    I think this whole Scoble issue brought to light a bigger problem — that a lot of us are walking around with the idea that we have much privacy at all, and then getting upset when they’re reminded that they don’t. If it’s on your Facebook profile, it’s not private, no matter who your friends are or what your privacy controls are set to. If you’re visiting a website, it’s not private.

    Do I *like* not having privacy? No. But I think there are much bigger battles to be waged in the world than keeping a company from knowing my site visiting preferences (what are they going to do — send me ads? Ooh…). Heck, we can probably solve world peace easier than we could restore privacy post-Internet.

  3. It’s a good thing we’re all talking about this now, but direct marketers have been managing, overlaying, corrleating, buying and selling lists since before there was a Web, let along a Web 2.0.

    This horse left the barn decades ago.

  4. You are absolutely right. The more I read the Scoble’s explanations, the less I trust him about what he intented to do with this Plaxo convenience.

    There is a big difference between the contacts you manage in an Outlook personnal database and the so-called “friends” gathered, sometimes in a kind of random, way on the Facebook meeting place.

    I don’t exacty know what Scoble tried to do with pulled datas but the Facebook guys were wise. You too.

  5. I’ve never understood why Plaxo generates such fear and loathing. Sure, they made it too easy to accidentally send mass emails to your contacts, but that hardly puts them in the same category as the slimeballs who run zombie nets to send emails with fake return addresses offering to enlarge your wallet or various body parts. So far they haven’t done anything more nefarious with the data they’ve collected and I haven’t heard any good arguments why they should be trusted any less than Google or anyone else who offers to manage your address book for you. Plaxo did get into the social networking business with Pulse, but each connection there is opt-in just like Facebook. If they started displaying my address book (not just the “friends” who opted in) to the world that would be changing the rules and I would object to Scoble participating in such a scheme, but on what grounds do you suspect them of planning to do so?

    Sure, Plaxo is up for sale, but don’t think that couldn’t happen to any other company you or your friends do business with.

  6. Judi Sohn says:

    Christopher, that’s exactly my point. Google tried to take data they already had for one purpose and turn it around towards social networking. They took #@$% for it. What they did wasn’t wrong, how they went about it was.

    I don’t think anyone or any company is “evil.” But I’m concerned about a company that is both utility and social network at the same time.

  7. Great post Judi, and one that needed to be said.

    Alvin Toffler likes to say that if internet/computer technology is the turbocharged racecar moving 200 miles per hour around the track, the law is the snail clocking a foot an hour.

    Do you really have a right to privacy? To not have every single piece of data about you aggregated, correlated, amassed, commodified and used by other people to manipulate you to their ends? Really? Have you looked at the Supreme Court lately?

    Law is made by politicians – which is why they matter, and why every inhabitant of the Web 2.0 world had better get registered and vote.

    Politicians, like tapeworms, respond to stimuli – and it’s the responsibility of *all* of us apply that stimulus if we want to not have to wonder who is doing what with our data and why.

  8. Judi,

    Thanks for wading into the big debate over data ownership and friends list portability, obviously big questions for 2008.

    If I understand correctly, your position is that people should not use any online address book service without seeking the permission of the people in their address book to have their contact info uploaded to the system.

    Is that a correct interpretation?

    I am quite interested in your thoughts and feedback. I suspect I am misunderstanding your position — and that you may be misunderstanding the sharing/permission model in Plaxo Pulse.

    Eager to help clarify things.

    John McCrea

    vp of marketing, plaxo

  9. I don’t really know about the Plaxo issue, but I want to comment about the issue of offline vs online friendships, where you said the lines are blurred.

    I completely agree with what you say, but as you said, it’s not Scoble’s (or anybody’s fault). I think we really have to take a second look at the whole ‘friend-ing’ mechanism of social networks. The Yes-No nature was good as a starting point, but it needs to be developed further. There are too many nuances in real life friendships.

    One starting point, I think, would be to have the ability to select what you want specific friends to see. Or maybe even have different ‘sub-profiles’ for different groups of people (something like how your friends in real life see you differently based on the social circle – colleague vs husband, etc). I don’t really have a good answer to this. I asked the question at http://is.gd/ul , and would love to get your thoughts. =).

  10. Judi Sohn says:

    @John,

    If I understand correctly, your position is that people should not use any online address book service without seeking the permission of the people in their address book to have their contact info uploaded to the system.

    No, that is not my position. I was a paid premium member of Plaxo before Pulse. I thought it was a great way to keep my address book synced between Outlook and Mac Address Book.

    My position is that an online address book service is an online address book service. That’s what I signed up for. You have flipped your focus over to social networking, using the address book service as a carrot on a stick. My profile on a social network is not an address book entry. As soon as one social network invents a tool that pulls data from another social network and doesn’t seek permission for doing so, I think it’s a problem.

    You can’t be an “address book service” when it’s convenient, and a social network the rest of the time without drawing these kinds of questions.

    And since you are for sale, you should be very clear about the data you have and the connections you’ve built (and are capable of building) with the profiles of non-members. Your privacy policy says what you won’t do. I want to know what you have and can do, but don’t because you’re ethical. Your buyer may not be.

    An address book service is putting pebbles inside a black cup. A social network is putting pebbles into a clear bowl. Which is it? It’s my position that you can’t have it both ways.

  11. Judi Sohn says:

    @Derrick, I think you’re right. We start teaching our children early on what is and isn’t a “friend” and now it’s time for adults to figure it out online.

    I don’t blame Robert or anyone else for pushing this to the edge. Like I said, I quietly unfriended him when I had time to think about it last year. If this was about Robert, I would have said something back then.

    Facebook does have a limited profile, but it’s not well understood. And even with that, I have to pick entire blocks of information and can’t edit within those blocks so it’s too limited a feature.

    Personally, I would rather pull in content from content providers through applications and plug-ins than profiles/friends. After all, I subscribe to magazines, I don’t invite the publishers/authors over for coffee so they can read me what they wrote. 😉

    There are some lines between the on and offline world that don’t blur well.

  12. When the address book service is a “networked address book” service, as Plaxo has always been, in which each member maintains their own profile data and shares it automatically with others based on a granular permission model, your “black cup” analogy doesn’t really work.

    Plaxo has always been about both “data sync” and “people sync” (or user controlled data sharing). That is a very natural platform from which to build Pulse, which brings that address book to life, while fully embracing the notion of highly granular control of sharing.

    And you can still use the Plaxo address book functionality without using Pulse.

  13. I like Robert Scoble because even though I do not agree with everything he says, and sometimes he does not respond to my emails, he is human, and does not hide behind a corporate cloak. Most importantly, he is an intelligent person who brings to my attention items of interest which I might not have known about.

    Result: I read almost everything from Robert Scoble, especially his shared Google Reader feed. That is more than I can say for advertisements, which for the most part just annoy me. (And I’m a former ad person.)

    As for whether he cares for me as a person, or does not care for me as a person, or considers me as a friend, I don’t care. If I met him at an event, I’m sure we’d have a good conversation.

    For me, that’s all that I ask for…

    The truth is that relationships are always changing. In the online world, maybe they change even faster.

    That seems to be the trend…

  14. I’m sorry, I have people in my GMail address book who are not intimate friends of mine but whom I may have had one or two E-mail conversations with and Facebook imports them, I’m scratching my head to understand the difference…

  15. Judi Sohn says:

    Dan, it’s not the same. Facebook only imports long enough to check for membership. The information is not retained.

    But let’s assume for a second it was the exact same thing. So? I fail to understand why it’s okay to do something that violates trust using the “two wrongs make a right” argument.

    Why does something have to be bad so something else can be good? Whether or not Facebook is hero or hell is besides the point.

  16. Judi, I respect your position although I disagree with some of your points. Here’s one: by your logic (it’s wrong for me, via Plaxo, to move my FB address book over to Plaxo – or similarly in Gmail) if I did the same manually, one by one, by reading the email image off of every one of my FB friends – I would be equally wrong? To my mind, Plaxo isn’t moving the addresses – I am, with a Plaxo tool. I understand it feels spammy and a violation but I am having trouble seeing you “all address book importers are bad” argument, which is how it sounds. All that said I am now subscribing to your various feeds. another articulate voice to listen to.

  17. Judi Sohn says:

    Hi Michael, it’s not “right vs. wrong.” It’s, as the title says, a matter of trust. I never made an “all address book importers are bad” argument. I know others have made this into a Facebook vs. the world thing, but I don’t let my kids get away with a “but everyone else is doing it” argument either.

    This isn’t about all address book importers. This is about this address book importer. Plaxo has a history of playing a little looser with ethics, and they supposedly had changed their ways. This episode throws my trust of this company into more doubt than it was before.

    If you choose to trust data with Plaxo, that is your choice. It concerns me that as a now non-member, my data is still with a company that I don’t trust. They are by far not the only example of this. I know that’s the way it is nowadays. But that doesn’t improve my trust of a company that seems to be diving into the new open/social web with more aggressive “what’s in it for me and #@$% everyone else” gusto that I’m comfortable with.

    As always, my opinion, my impressions. But I’m not an A-list blogger…I’m just your average customer. So I think it doesn’t matter the excuses or explanations of “pushing Facebook’s buttons.” It was a slimy move.

    It’s like it almost doesn’t matter how many charities WalMart donates to, because they blow it the next time they open a store in a new town and drive out the small guy. Trust and perception matter, and a company that was already on the fence in the hearts and minds of many customers should have taken a much higher ground.

  18. Jon says:

    Judy – So it appears to me that you have more of a problem with Plaxo’s architecture than with the fact that Scoble tried to download his contacts from Facebook. Would you have a problem with what Scoble did if he imported his Facebook contacts directly into his Outlook address book without sending them to Plaxo first?

  19. Judi Sohn says:

    Jon, no. It’s not a technical issue. It’s about trust. Perception and intentions. My problem is that Scoble, in an effort to “push Facebook’s buttons” schemed with a company that has its own customer trust issues to pull data out of system that whether right or wrong, didn’t want that data taken.

    He didn’t genuinely want or care to have those 4,500 contacts in Outlook, he did it to prove a point and help Plaxo. That’s not someone that I personally want to label as a “friend,” but that’s just me.

    I wouldn’t have a problem if he asked for volunteers to help him test something, or better yet, had encouraged Plaxo to work above ground on a syncing solution with Facebook.

  20. Matt says:

    Although I’m not 100% sure what Plaxo is good for, I would definitely appreciate having my contacts updated automatically. And if Plaxo has everyone’s information what good is it really? It’s not qualified information so you’re not singled out–it probably couldn’t even be used to figure out who I plan to vote for; something that would easily be answered by someone who knows me.

    What I don’t like is the new social networking part. I don’t need another web 2.0 site that I will never check. I’m sure this is opt out anyway. So what is the big deal about?

  21. Keesha says:

    I really do not know what to think about the article Scoble, Facebook & Plaxo: It’s matter of trust, And Fear. I can understand how people do not want their personal information shared without their permission, but then I think why you would join a social network where millions of people read and share information all day it is just a matter of time before your person information is put out for everybody to see. I am not surprised that people are selling other people’s information without their knowledge.

    I do feel that Plaxo has a moral responsibility to tell people that they have their personal information on file. I think there needs to be more security when it comes to internet sharing. But I think that if you are putting yourself out there, you should be aware that you may become a victim of all kinds of internet scams and this story is a perfect example.

  22. Rebecca says:

    That is very scary; having your personal information available to others even if you do not wish for them to have access to that information. Why are people so willing to sell out their friends, acquaintances, and anyone else they come into contact with? I do not belong to any such groups and it worries me that my niece, nephew, and friends share information on such sites as My Space, to me it is all the same. You get onto these sites and share your information with others thinking it is just with friends and the company is collecting all that data. You have no way of knowing what happens to that data while you’re using the Plaxo or other such social networks. Your information could be shared with their sister companies (if they have such companies) and then one or both companies could be sold to the same or different company and now your information is going who knows where.

    My friend sent me an e-mail giving me access to her My Space, the catch is I had to start a My Space account to see the pictures she was sharing. Scary the pictures my friend wanted to share were her children. So now those in charge have her personal information and know what her family looks like. I don’t share information in such ways as Plaxo because I do not trust them and am afraid of what will become of my personal information and any information my friends share with me.

  23. I get the feeling now that I am able to have a much more accurate picture of what is still going on in my personal life from unexpected and unordinary “events” which entered my off-net domain and into my entire personal space and boundaries.

    Boston MA, Network

    (I have NO privacy anymore, all shared information about me doesn’t matter anymore because of this. Absolutely NONE- careful before you go on and DO NOT friend me- you are still able to read my notes)

  24. Gina Baptist says:

    I agree with you. Plaxo does seem very scary and this is something I would never join. I actually try to stay away from all of this sort of stuff. I must admit, it's fun looking at other people pictures and info. But, I don't think I would want to display my information and family pics for the world to see. At the end of day you are still not safe. The moment you turn your computer on you can become a victim to all the wonderful internet scams (marketing). That's just the price you pay living in todays society.

    • Benjamin Anin-Mensah says:

      This is why it is the internet – because it connects people in many ways. All social networking sites are linked to emails, and these accounts are linked to past purchases, or chat rooms, etc. It is wise to just avoid all of it if one does not want privacy breached.

  25. Benjamin Anin-Mensah says:

    The world wide web is just as it sounds. It's a plethora of information waiting for someone to find it. It behooves me as to why people feel the need to share so much valuable information knowing that it can always be traced back to an email account of some sort. Even if one joins a social networking site under his or her initials, he or she must provide an email address. That email address, in turn, has information from previous connections with other addresses or online purchases, etc. In a time of blogging, video logging, etc., people seem to be hardly concerned with whether the opinions they hold are being shared with the public.

    • Janice Honore says:

      I agree, it is a plethora of information and anyone can find it. Every company on the Web require an email address. Social networkingis very popular now. With having an email address you can always get in contact with almost anyone. Now days you can find out information about anyone simply by using Goggle.

  26. Janice Honore says:

    Robert Scoble should be suspended for an indefinite amount of time. He broke the rules. Face Book did the right thing; they could not stand by and do nothing. Robert has a list of 4500-5000 friends which is comparable to a magazine publisher. Robert has chosen to link accounts with Plaxo so, they can start their own company and establish new members.Somewhat like a friend of a friend

    Plaxo aquired these members the wrong way and is now up for sale for 100 million dollars. Regardless as to who buys this Web site they have valuable information about anyone Robert has entered in his address book by way of Face Book. If you wanted Plaxo to have any information about you at least you would have had a choice. Robert has taken that right away from you.

    • Benjamin Anin-Mensah says:

      Yes, this is true that Facebook would be held accountable if it had not done anything. Whether or not Scoble had evil intentions, we must never forget that once we sign on whether under our real info or a pseudonym – we are subject to others finding out our contact information at the least.

      • astran williams says:

        agree, they were just doing their job, and hopefully if he didn't do the script thing, then he can have his account back. maybe he would have learned some type of lesson by this though.

  27. Astran Williams says:

    Well, all I have to say is that is the main reason why I never decided to get a facebook or even myspace account period. You go online world wide and you have a chance to tell whoever you want to everything about you. Now I understand you are supposed to invite people to your page that are supposed to be your friends, but now days you just can't be trustworthy to nobody.
    If you were using facebook for what they accused you of then you were very wrong because even though these people are still giving out their information online, you and them still were supposed to be having a friend relationship where you were trusting each other with your information.
    The world can be so cold these days, but you have to be so careful.

  28. Christy says:

    After reading this article I was in shock. I cannot believe a site can get my information and data from me accepting a friend on Facebook. I have both Facebook and MySpace. I choose my friends very carefully I only accept those that I know or went to school with. But there is still a possibility that I may be on Plaxo, from just accepting these friends. This scares me a lot that by accepting these friends on these sites Plaxo can get my personal information. Information that I did not give them consent to have. Although the information I have on my sites is not that personal. I do not have my phone number or address. But, I do have my email and that to me is enough information to have. I do not want just anyone to have my email address. I do not understand how this can be legal. I did sign up for Facebook and MySpace, but I did not sign up for Plaxo.

    It is scary that Plaxo may know my phone number, email address, and even where I work. When they were just about the data that was okay then they changed their game. Now they are not just about data they are about relationships. I know I am not the only person who does not want their personal information floating around cyber space unless you put it there. How is it even legal for them to get your information without your consent? It is not fair they are using your friends to build your social graph. I agree having this information is one thing, but graphing it and building a company from it is appalling. How can a company say they have ethics if they are using information they did not get consent to use. I am extremely appalled that a company can do this.

  29. C. Douglas says:

    Dear Judi,

    I think that your opinion and arguments are well stated. It is scary to think that a company you trusted would take advantage of your information without your permission. I understand your point that you gave them all this information about yourself thinking that it was a data only website and they have broken your trust in that respect.

    That being said, I think that it’s basically pointless to fear Plaxo. What needs to be feared is the awesome power that is the INTERNET. If you have a computer that is linked to the internet then your information is already out there. Any hacker worth his salt can get into your system and find out just about everything about you. I have always gone under the assumption that what I am posting online could end up anywhere. You read all the time about people losing their jobs because of their Facebook profiles. I have even read of teenagers killing themselves because of Myspace postings. It’s tragic, but at the same time I wonder to myself where did all this naivety come from?

    You can get most peoples names, addresses and telephone numbers from the very website that I pay my state car taxes on in my state. All you need to know is the first and last name of the person you are looking for. You can go to anywho.com and type in a name, get the person’s phone number and then you can get directions to their house! Don’t think that as a mom this prospect did not scare me to death. Imagine a child predator calling a number and asking for an adult and a child who does not know any better saying my mom or dad isn’t home. It would be no problem for the pervert to then get directions straight to the residence already knowing there is no adult presence to fear. Most of us have caught at least one episode of To Catch a Predator on MSN. I think your trust and fear issues with Plaxco are justified, but I think it’s a little naive to think your info isn’t already out there if someone wanted to have it. However I agree with your basic point. I’m scared too and it’s not just because someone might find out my phone number or where I work. I’m more afraid for my children and other’s children. After all I can change my number, get a new job and I could even sell my house and move. One thing is certain I could not replace one of my children! There need to be more laws governing certain aspects of the internet and we as citizens of this virtual world definitely need to be ever vigilant of guarding what, if anything, we can of our online privacy.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts,

    C. Douglas

  30. A.R. Brown says:

    Hi Judi,

    A very interesting subject. This is very new to me. I am not a member of any social network although I have heard the names of the ones mentioned in several of the blogs. My son has a myspace account and I am quite sure he understands all the comments that have been made regarding PLAXO.

    This is my view on this issue. We live in a day now where technology has moved into our homes and creeped into our bedrooms, home offices, and corner areas. We did not ask for it…however; we enjoy the benefits of all this microwave information – Mapquests, enclopedias and libraries online..etc… We want all the benefits of information and yet now–our private thoughts, social behaviors, and yes people who we associate with can be known to the world in a matter of minutes.

    This is very scary and dangerous. The one thing that I find so dangerous is not just knowing who are friends are and the information that we so freely share…This information can be collected through an online order, interest made on a website and other methods. Is the ability to place someone’s name in a cellphone or computer for people search and find their phone number and where they live. THAT TO ME IS DANGEROUS. This should not happen. While riding in the car my son used his cellphone to look up a person’s address and then mapquest the direction. I did not know you could do that. SCARY!

  31. geoff brewer says:

    I believe our information is out there is someone really wants to get it. We should just be very careful on how much of ourselves we expose. Don’t offer up more to be used with whats already out in those data basis.

  32. ENG240 SP says:

    I’m not a memeber of facebook. I know it’s popular, but honestly I haven’t had time to sign up. Reading this article makes me feel as if by replying to this message I’m a victim of my data being exploited to those that don’t know me. I guess the privacy act doesn’t apply to these websites. I don’t know why they’ll be using our data, but if I were any of you I’ll be protecting my accounts for fraud, identity theft and everything else because the world we live in only cares about itself. I guess thats another reason why I don’t get involve in worldly affairs, my focus leans more towards where I’m going.

    • Danielle says:

      I know what you mean. I felt a little funny about posting a message on this board myself. A lot of people feel they way you do…not because they’re afraid but just cautious.

  33. Danielle ENG240 Strayer says:

    ENG 240
    September 12, 2009
    Wk 10 think and learn

    Until this article I had never heard about Plaxo. But that’s probably not saying much since these other social networking sites like myspace, twitter and facebook have literally sprung up overnight. My take on the entire trust/fear thing is you have to do whatever is comfortable to you. I have a myspace page that I never use because it was too involved and complicated, not because I was afraid to use it. I use a social networking site from my old university and I catch up with old friends I haven’t seen in forever and I recently started a facebook page. Most of the sites have security features. The problem is they really secure or are they just telling us that?
    If Plaxo is able to essentially hijack our personal information, that would definitely be a cause for concern, however; it goes back to your comfort level. Don’t include any information that you don’t want made public. Truth be told, our information is subject to takeover simply because we have regular mail, e-mail, bank accounts and the like. We just have to be diligent about what type of information we make available and monitor things like our credit scores.

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