Blog posts tagged "privacy"

FriendFeed is too much info

May 2nd, 2008


One of the key topics (I think) in my Casual Privacy talk last week was the importance of “context” in privacy and sharing. That some people have trouble understanding how fundamental context is to all social interactions was my primary take away from SG Foo, and I’ve been preaching it quietly where I can.

All by way of saying, I made one of my rare visits to FriendFeed this evening, and I was reminded that I consistently regret it. Breaking down those contextual walls means I consistently like the people I find there less then I did when I was able to interact with them in isolated manners; fire walling the aesthetic from the technical from the political from the personal.

We need routing not aggregation.

Social Software Needs a “Significant Other” Option

July 4th, 2006

Private, friends|family, do not share, etc. It’s very useful to be able to flag certain data you store as private; links or photos, event attendance, or notes. These simple defaults allow us to manage our data without the complex overhead of maintaining ACLs (a task almost no one is obsessive enough to manage)

But it would be nice if there was a way to re-define privacy on these sites so as to enable sharing among partners without the single account/password swapping solutions. Looking at the statistics I have to think this is not a niche feature.

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Morale-O-Meter Goes Public|Social

May 31st, 2006

Erik Benson’s awesome Morale-O-Meter is now publicly available! My favorite tool since Allconsuming (or maybe LoB). Just don’t stab to close to Buzz, that man is wild. (like you needed a webapp to tell you that)

update: So I’m confused, when entering hours slept for a day, is that the hours you woke up with, or the hours you ended the day with? Or maybe just the hours that occured during the 24 hour period. How can I be sure my reporting is accurate!!?!

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Privacy vs Agency

March 8th, 2006

One of the unfrequently mentioned costs of privacy is that you give up the ability to set your own frame. Or put more plainly, one of the benefits of blogging is taking control of your own story. (assuming you can manage the fairly minor feat of establishing yourself as credible source about you)

We don’t normally think in terms of the cost of privacy (other then as the operational cost imposed by one’s threat model), but it came up today, and I was intrigued. (See also Documentation in the Age of Google)

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Suppressed, an alternative to Private

February 12th, 2006

The “public by default” nature of blogging, Flickr, and has been key to their success where earlier attempts have failed. Still there is a huge amount of info out there that is sensitive. In particular there is a large swathe of it which is time sensitive: research for a present or a presentation, research for a new product or a new job, information which gives away too much information about current intentions or physical location or security vulnerabilities, .

In fact I would argue that there is a significant overlap between the information we’re not yet ready to share, and our best, most in-depth research. The information we’re most likely to make private is the information that would most likely be useful to others.

Opaque, for a little while

So what’s an alternative to making the information private? Suppressing it; push the information down below the transparency level, and let it bob back to the surface at a later date. In 6 months the birthday will be a distant memory and the issue of a present a done deal, your Web2.0 startup will have already launched and been acquired, and so on.

Right now the public/private spectrum is 2-dimensional, if we take the time to build, maintain, and garden our social networks then we can add a dimension of public for friends/family/colleagues, but currently that requires serious investment. Time is a simpler dimension (it progresses largely without intervention), and yet adds a great deal of flexibility.

A Couple of Refinements

Re-suppression. Once information has been made public on the Web, it’s nearly impossible to remove it again. So systems with suppression need to be proactive about notifying before information slip into the public, and giving you the option to push it down for another 6 months.

Variable translucency. Once the rubber ducky of secret information has been pushed down, it might not be seen again until the privacy window expires, but it is also possible that as it gradually bobs it’s way back to the surface it will become start to become visible through the translucent bath water, gradually revealing more over time.

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GChat Mini Review

February 8th, 2006

I use the GTalk Jabber network via Adium and I’ve been very happy with it, especially since they turned on federation. And I practically live in Gmail. I should be the GChat target audience. So initial impressions.


It slows down Gmail. And that isn’t good because I already spend way too much time waiting for Gmail. Some of this will be corrected with time, but loading time is noticeably slower, and it feels like day to day operations have taken a performance hit as well.

Slow Delivery

I’ve had at least two messages take 30-40 minutes to arrive. Presumably this is just launched hiccups.


I’ve got a 12in screen, and when the chat dialogs are up Gmail starts to feel claustrophobic. This goes double when I pause for a moment, and the chat enticement dialog pops up.


Gaim and OTR (and by extension Adium) mean that for the first time its trivial to have decent privacy in your messaging, practically for free. I’m not ready to give that up, and I can’t see GChat adding it.

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Tag Stalking

December 26th, 2005

Some tags I check when trying to figure out who someone is/what their story is: me, friends, work, home, weather, craigslist. Also a quick visual scan for place names.

Even folks who’ve managed to stay fairly anonymous leak a lot of info in their tags.

Log anonymizing patches

April 10th, 2005

Riseup patches to keep various logging apps like syslog from recording IP addresses. Also

Additionally we’ve got a patch to postfix that anonymizes SMTP header lines that are sent through over a SASL authenticated SMTP connection. This is unnecessary information added for no apparant reason by Postfix, and we dont think its a nice thing to do to let everyone know what your home DSL connection is.

Nice! That was one of the few features about me Postfix which really bugged me. More info on imc-tech

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