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Is there a subtle privacy problem here?

I was looking at the demonstration of how socialthing will allow you to alias together your friends various accounts into a single entity. It's a useful enough feature, and probably something I'd want to do were I a socialthing user.

However, something about it makes me subtly uncomfortable. I might know that my friend Bob is bob123 on last.fm and bob1974 on Twitter. Does that automatically mean it's OK for me to announce that to the world? Maybe Bob doesn't want that link made public and specifically chose different usernames for that reason.

It's not a big thing, but I'm not sure it's my place to aggregate information about someone else.

The caveat here is that I am not a socialthing beta user, so it's entirely possible that this aggregation is for personal use only. The video doesn't make it clear.

Comments

Joel Longtine said…
Hey Gareth,

I'm one of the developers at Socialthing! Thanks for bringing up this question. We understand your concerns, and have thought about it pretty extensively. Currently, it functions just as you postulated at the end of your post, where the 'aggregation' of an identity is for your personal use only.

There are some circumstances in which we may take advantage of this data in the future to help you find where else your friends are on the internet (e.g. you and I are friends on Facebook and Twitter, and both have Flickr accounts, but aren't connected on Flickr. We help find that 'missed connection'). Keep in mind, this will only be shown to people you are already friends with on other services, and we will also provide privacy features so you can opt in/out of this functionality.

Hope that clears up the issue. We'd be happy to answer more questions if you have them. Feel free to email me: joel - at - socialthing.com