I received this post to my Wall, “I fellow Kama’aina from Radford HS (not from Punahou or Iolani) wrote a really wonderful post about MyDataisMyData. Mahalo, Amy Jussel!” I don’t know if you knew it, but I grew up in Hawai`i-Nei and attended Saint Louis School and became Student Body President and wrestled and was a “Ranger” in JROTC and even visited Washington for the Government-study course, CLOSE-UP! Well, Saint Louis ’88, is the answer. Other than making me super-nostalgic, Amy Jussel wrote a really fantastic piece on MyDataIsMyData on her blog, Shaping Youth, “My Data is My Data:” Putting Choice Back into Social Media:
My Data is My Data.org is a plug-in for those of us who are not so wild about social media hubs tracking our every move for data-mining purposes like the infamous Facebook Beacon controversy I wrote about in those two posts.
Believe me, the irony doesn’t escape me that the development of this useful plug-in to bring ‘choice’ back to the internet from vested interests and corporate coffers is being sponsored by a MySpace meets CraigsList style-ad community called FlugPo. (as a name generation gal, I have to ask myself, where DO they get these names?!)
I love it when technologists and advertisers trump their own kind, offering solutions-based freebies that kids and parents can ALL benefit from in open-source good-guy style…
I’ve officially joined the My Data is My Data Facebook group to see where this is headed in the privacy/preferences arena. We’ll see. Created by Chris Abraham of Abraham Harrison (who also started ‘Facecrook’ to warn folks about the Beacon balderdash) the FB group is promoting customization of preferences to suit YOUR agenda, not the advertisers’.
Hmn. Sounds good to me…
…Especially after they got a strong bracer from 50,000 of us in 8 days using their own mobilization tools to tell them we were ticked about being blindsided, sending our friends our purchases and preferences without our permission.
Yet…after a few (forced) ‘mea culpas’ in the press, and shifting to an ‘opt-in’ format, Facebook still snoops, spies, tracks, and harvests our info on the back end (albeit much more stealthily) saving the info for gawdonlyknows what’s next…
Granted, the last freakin’ thing I need is another free ‘toolbar,’ but it sounds like a logical, user-driven way to put the control of your private information back into your own hands with all kinds of alerts, notifications, and ‘cookie’ choices, (alas not the chocolate chip kind) to customize your digital footprint beyond the ‘all or nothing’ approach.
My first instinct is to globalize it into a ‘yeah, what about Google and all the REALLY big search engine info-collectors…how can this be applied universally?’ dialog…
What about Double-Click? Double-Fusion? And every other integrated mega-mogul marketing play that’s out for kids’ eyeballs?
Even those of us who LOVE social media mobilization, HATE being sold out and commodified, especially without asking. And that’s not even counting the issue of kids! The arrogant gall of techno tools shipping data to ad partners on an “opt-out” or saturated eyeball/urban wallpaper basis is bound to have backlash…(if not from the parents, then from youth themselves!)
Guess THAT might fall into the policy arena on a much larger FCC and FTC privacy scale…
Or not. Those watchdogs haven’t been barking much…
Though today, the Center for a Digital Democracy (CDD) and members of the Children’s Media Policy Coalition, (specifically American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the American Academy of Pediatrics, Children Now, etc.) called the feds on their lax-n-loose policies…asking the the FTC ‘powers that be’ to get with the program and update themselves regarding online behavioral advertising and the sorry state of self-regulation in the youth arena. Yay.
Self-regulation is great in theory, but let’s face it, COPPA, schmoppa…
Sure, advertisers are supposed to comply with COPPA but we all know the corporate claws have been out early on, insidiously working fast and furious to blitz tweens and teens with profiling and branding sans privacy protection, before parents, media and the snail-pace of governmental bigwigs even get a whiff of what’s goin’ on. (um, Neopets, anyone?)
Many parents are still at the ‘What is social media?’ stage, much less having any hint of awareness of data-mining kids’ behavioral patterns and online fingerprints.
Talk about a tipped scale of the fairness factor…
Even the kids themselves don’t know the degree of personal data-mining going on…
Judging by our own Shaping Youth tween and teen advisors, they get ticked off when they see their eyeballs are being harvested and sold as fast as those macabre ‘urban myth, donor kidney heists’ where someone falls asleep and wakes up with their organs gone! (ooh, a tub full of ice and kids’ eyeballs, ewww…got a horrific visual there)
On the flip side, when people DO want info tailored to them, it can be perceived as a benefit and ‘value-add’ (e.g. a coupon for a store they frequent, or sale on the same block served to them via their GPS mobile).
It’s all a matter of privacy-security, how ads are handled (opt in/opt out, invasive vs. requested, etc.) who it benefits, and how to engage consumers in the dialog to advocate for themselves, and put the power back in THEIR hands.
My data is my data outlines the FAQ very succinctly and clearly on the whole info-sharing issue, at least as it applies to Facebook.
I’d like to know who’s capturing MY info in all arenas…ever since I read Nowhere to Hide and Generation Digital I’ve had my awareness at “level orange.”
Hmn. C’mon, now, folks. Be fair.
I’m not a child, but I deserve the right to control MY own information.
And yes, kids ARE in a ‘most vulnerable’ category, no matter how much advertisers want to ‘pooh-pooh’ it…
Besides, the Beacon outcry on FB was an amalgamation of collegiate, adult, teens of all ages, speaking to the “surveillance aspects” applicable to us ALL. Those privacy practices need disclosure for everyone…NOT just ‘for the children.’
That said, here’s today’s (14 pp pdf) from child advocates submitted to the FTC from the Institute of Public Representation at Georgetown University. And, here’s the official FTC filing (37pp) addressed to FTC Office of the Secretary, Donald Clark…
Finally, below is late-breaking news from Congressman Edward Markey’s office with an early-stage reaction to same. Perusing his site, it looks like last week he opened a hearing on virtual worlds too, so this lawmaker could be one to watch as these digital events begin to unfold.
Meanwhile, kids, teens, youth advocates, parents…What do YOU have to say on the data-mining/privacy front?
Is mandatory transparency the way to go? Plug-ins and pop-ups when you’re visiting a site that monitors you? Age-appropriate regulation? Walled-off regions within platforms that are commercial-free and/or non-traceable?
Can the ‘my data is my data’ concept be applied to a larger scale beyond social media applicable to mobile, VoIP, virtual worlds and virtual goods via cookie-setting that puts choice into the user’s hands?
What are your solutions and ideas?
Sound off…As I wrote here, the digital frontier is ‘unwritten’…
No matter what your views are, now’s the time to tap into your own gut instincts and best practices and begin to have your say, before others do it for you!
Congressman Edward Markey’s comments on the FTC filing today:
MARKEY: NEW ONLINE PRIVACY SAFEGUARDS NEEDED TO PROTECT CHILDREN, TEENS
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Edward J. Markey (D-MA), a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and co-Chairman of the Bi-Partisan Congressional Privacy Caucus, released the following statement this afternoon in response to the Federal Trade Commission’s proposed principles for industry self-regulation of online behavioral advertising:
“The FTC has appropriately recognized the pressing need for updated online privacy protections for children that reflect the sophisticated data collection and behavioral targeting practices now used widely across the Internet. Without stronger protections, including a prohibition on collecting data on children’s and teens’ online activities, young Internet users may become unwitting targets of the ‘hidden persuaders’ of the digital age. The evolution of online behavioral advertising since the enactment of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act requires a commensurate rejuvenation of privacy safeguards. I look forward to monitoring the FTC’s work in this important area.”
Related Shaping Youth Posts on Internet Privacy/Kids’ Concerns:
Related Posts Elsewhere: