Ketil Froyn's blog

Main blog

Wed, 09 Feb 2005

Scary social networking


Consider GMail. GMail has been launched to the public, but you still can't go to their website to sign up. So how do they get users? They let users invite other users.

Most users of GMail will probably not consider one consequence of this; Google will see who you know. Do you think they don't store this information? I think they do.

This isn't a smear campaign against Google or GMail. For the rest of this discussion, the same points can be made for major messaging services (like MSN Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger and ICQ) and other services where there is some benefit to adding your friends.

Let's say GMail is burgled, and the database of "who knows who"is made available on the internet. This is not unheard of, something very similar happened to Cisco. After a while, the information will be well known to everyone, and everyone will be able to use it.

Now, let's assume you're running for Prime Minister. (PM is just an example, it can be pretty much anything. If you have no ambition, you can stop reading here.) Now anyone can dig through your social network and find out if you are probably in touch with one or more of the following:

Very helpful, but not to you. How well do you screen participants of your social network?

-Ketil



posted at: 03:56 | path: | permanent link to this entry