Geo tagging, open commenting, public profiles: but where is all your online information is going?
Flowtown created an email marketing service that mines your email database and collects their public information from across the web.
The result is a marketer’s dream. Create more targeted email campaigns from more detailed demographic information
For users? Well… caveat emptor. Let the web user beware.
If you are joining social websites and communities or commenting across the web, then your data is out there.
Bruce Houghton sums it up in his post.
It all sounds a little bit like invasion of privacy
until you remember that every bit of
information that Flowtown gathers was
knowingly posted by the user on the social web.
Not the most comforting statement. The point above is half made.
It’s not that it “sounds” like an invasion of privacy it is a violation of a user’s privacy for they did not voluntarily consent to have their social profile information to be used in this manner. Users in email marketer’s email lists did not “opt in” to allow their their social network information to be used.
So clearly web users would feel uncomfortable or violated, and even marketers commenting on the post “feel” uncomfortable knowing their information is being used without their consent.
So what privacy rights do web users have over who uses your information? Houghton is right- none.
If you do not check your privacy and personal settings in social web services to “opt out” of certain options that publicize your profile information or list you in web searches, then you by default have allowed these services to do so.