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Social Network Users’ Bill of Rights: You Decide March 10, 2011

Posted by lborodkin in : Uncategorized , trackback

Friday, March 11, 2011 at 3:30 at the Hyatt in Austin, Christina Gagnier, Jack Lerner, and I are doing a panel (moderated by Alex Howard) at SXSWi about user rights. Panel information: http://schedule.sxsw.com/events/…

I had previously asked on Quora What rights should users of a social networking site have? Why? It was for this panel. I have asked for a link to the live stream of the panel where anyone can give feedback. The "mechanism" I refer to below is at a website http://snubillofrights.com/.

The panel organizer asked for a few paragraphs about the perspective each panelist would bring to the panel. Here is what I wrote:

"My perspective is that it is the responsibility of users to bootstrap and start up their own mechanism for feedback to social sites as good social networking citizens. Much de facto policy is now made by the free market. I see a need for users to organize and speak somehow as a quantifiable a group to give feedback to Facebook, Google and other well-intentioned social networking sites when the sites do things on erroneous premises of what users want.

There is no good way currently of collecting hard, empirical,
quantitative data about the preferences of a large number of social
network users. There is a need to have user input into the formation of social norms, because courts interpreting values such as "expectations of privacy" often look to social network sites policies and practices.

In May and June 2010, Jack Lerner and I discussed our concern that Facebook was modifying privacy policies in increments and making it technically difficult from a User Interface perspective for a user to revert default privacy settings they didn't agree with. We wrote a "Bill of Rights" around the same time as others from the Electronic Freedom Foundation, PC World, and ACLU had the same idea to publish Bills of Rights. Jon Pincus at the Computers, Freedom and Privacy conference in June 2010 had the idea to bring these Bills of Rights together into general principles.

The Bill of Rights is a starting point for norms. There are many
specific fine tunings and concrete applications of the norms. But this focuses on trying to achieve consensus about what users are entitled to expect and want, in the absence of website drafted policies and private Terms of Service Agreements."

By the way, I think Quora does an excellent job with these rights and norms. Most importantly they have tinkered with privacy settings and policies very little (if at all) from the policies set forth from the beginning.

Everyone's thoughts (and votes on http://snubillofrights.com/) are of course appreciated.

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