As part of Data Privacy Day on Thursday, Microsoft says it conducted a survey of 2,500 people that included, consumers, HR managers and recruitment professionals in the US, the UK, Germany and France, with the goal of learning more about attitudes toward online reputation and how this information can have real life consequences. The survey found that the top online factors for rejecting a job applicant are unsuitable photos/videos, concerns about a candidate’s lifestyle and inappropriate comments written by the candidate.
Please read the rest of this post at GigaOm
Does it really, though? All that the photos (one of which appeared at Valleywag some time ago) really show are the outside gate of Page’s home, with a few cars in the parking lot, and an aerial view of the top of his house and property. There’s a blurry figure who the privacy group speculates is a bodyguard drinking a pop, and then we get a closeup of the next-door neighbour’s alarm sign, which tells us they use a specific alarm service. The route to work, meanwhile, is simply a series of photos of the intersections that the group feels might mimic the path Larry may or may not take to the Google campus.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation makes a fairly persuasive argument that the judge’s order is a legal error, based on a U.S. law (the Videotape Privacy Protection Act, believe it or not) that prevents the publication of information about which videotapes a customer has rented. Unfortunately, Google’s own legal arguments appear to have worked against the company this time: its data-retention policies are based on the idea that IP addresses aren’t really personal data because they aren’t attached specifically to a single person, and in his decision the judge specifically quotes Google’s view that “in most cases, an IP address without additional information cannot [identify a user].”
As the EFF notes in its discussion of the issue, the AOL privacy breach of a couple of years ago is ample evidence that an IP address and some other user information can be used to quite easily track down individual users. Is that what Viacom has in mind — and if so, are individual lawsuits a la the RIAA the next thing on the agenda? If so, then the judge’s decision effectively emasculates the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which is supposed to protect hosting companies if they abide by takedown requests. Mike Arrington says the judge is “a moron.”
As Mike Arrington notes in another post, this is a pretty flimsy argument at best. Facebook says that it’s worried that the information about you and your profile will somehow go astray during its journey through Google’s connect feature to some third-party site, and that you can’t disconnect that third-party site from within Facebook — which is true. But Google notes that it gives Google Connect users complete control over which sites see their info, so that isn’t a problem.
Robert Scoble has a post up that seems to argue that Facebook is right and Mike is wrong — a debate that continues in the comments on Arrington’s post — but to be honest I lost track of what Scoble’s argument actually was somewhere in there. To me it seems obvious that I should have the ability to move data that is attached to my profile (photos, phone numbers, addresses, emails, etc.) to some other site — in a way that didn’t involve screen-scraping.
If those sites were connected somehow so that the data could be updated in both places at once, so much the better. I don’t particularly care whether it’s Google’s OpenSocial or Google’s Connect, or Facebook’s Friend Connect, or whatever the hell MySpace’s thing is called — or whether it’s through some agreed-upon standard that everyone adheres to, like RSS or HTML. It seems obvious that while everyone is saying they want to be open, they still want to control my data. Umair Haque says it’s more proof that Facebook is fundamentally evil.