Sunday, May 9, 2010

Haute couture 2010: Privacy
Your latest luxury item to brag about

Pied Piper of Hamelin
The fate of chronic privacy deprivation that we are facing worries quite a few, and spurs a lot of heated discussions "we will do it better!".

Those inevitably bring up a question: "But Facebook is free, who is going to pay you ?"

So here's my take on it. Similar to how you have to be "rich" to control your weight, you will have to be "rich" to control your privacy.

So, the new services would have free accounts that are all-public (which is how you have to treat your info now, anyway - just extrapolate).

The paid accounts (something in the ballpark of $9/month) would allow making the information private. Or, one could go a bit more creative and sell privacy apiece - the more you pay, the more you can hide, and you pay only for the stuff you want to hide - so the distinction between the paid and free accounts would blur.

All of the accounts would allow the export of data into other services, should "this" social provider go off-rail.

The data formats as well as the interaction between the different providers would be standardized, so it would not really matter whether you and your friends are on the same provider or not.

This may not seem pretty, but I think this approach would be better than changing the smallprint in the ToS overtime.

Because there's no free lunch. It's just about charging in different currencies.

Now, I am curious (and you probably are curious too) about the correctness of the assumptions above, so here's a poll for you.

What would you choose ?
Stay on current social network
Get a free all-public account - or host your own instance with the privacy settings you choose
All-inclusive privacy paid account
Privacy sold apiece free polls

1 comment:

JOey said...

I think you're analogy between privacy and weight control is a good one. Personally, I've been thinking of it along the lines of content control. I think, in addition to the privacy features price model, there's a content price model where people will be paying a price to store, and subsequently, backup their content like photos for instance. I have GIGs of photos that are increasingly important to me and I need/want to protect them from data loss. So I imagine hosting services that provide a p2p social networking app with a data and maybe bandwidth pricing model.

By the way, I'm one of the devs on the 6d project and was just visiting your site while in the middle of my response to one of your emails. Great post...