Spock is Spooky

Dec
15
2007

Street Art

Get the impression these days that we may have just overstep the mark with the number of social networking sites that are appearing. Now I’m not going out looking for them, but it just seems that they are appearing at the rate of about 2-3 a day at the moment.

Who has time to check them out, setup the account, workout if it’s worth investing time in importing your social network into site by the old hunt and gather the names method; I would never trust them to go collect the information for me. I usually bookmark them and move on. So every now and again (maybe 1 in 20) I will signup.

Now Spock is such a social networking site. I signed up with Spock in early beta and I did what I usually do, secure your alias and let the site account just languish until I’m ready to have to good look at the site.

The Concern

Fast forward about 6 months. I came back to Spock I see that I’m now a mass murdering, famous Hollywood movie producer that freelances in web design. So my name is like Joe Smith, a very common one. You see Spock is collecting all the information it can from scraping other social networking site, blogs, media releases, news sites and the like. This means that Spock builds a profile on you, sometime with a picture supplied by others before you have ever signed up with the site.

As you can image this can lead to sorts of concerns. Frankly I’m not the first on the web community to raise questions over Spock as Myles Eftos discusses. This concern is not that new either, as ValleyWag (August 2007) thinks Spock is creepy too.

It’s not just the aggregation of the publicly available information on you into one place that makes this site spooky. It’s the verification, or lack there of. This is like an automated Wikipedia gone mad. Try and add your aliases to your name, it will not let you. Say you don’t want your real picture online, but use an alternative graphic, it will be deleted. It seems that the community can vote up a picture, a comment, a news article that is totally false. What recourse does a person have have about this spread of misinformation. It seems not much if they are out voted. They have your information, but you don’t have the control.

Have We Lost Our Way

What the hell is going on here. isn’t this meant to be about the correct information overcoming the false crap that is usually spun. It seems Spock is not out to do that. So what happens if you want your account deleted, or you want the information removed. Has anyone considered that. Doesn’t seem a way to do that either.

Nice idea, but despite or maybe because of the long list of prestigious staff this site it is just missing the marker. Who is controlling the data they are collecting? Should we trust them? What are they really doing with it.

I have had to setup an account and clarify and ensure that my digital identity was intact. Why, well I live in a digital world where the truth can easily be misinformation. Did I really want to setup the account, no not really, I’m getting a little tired of new sites with very little economic consideration for their own livelihood, that on sell the audience demographic information.

But, where is all this going. Are we over stepping the mark, okay you can say it’s all publicly available, and if you put yourself on the web you have to expect it and all that. But we all have distinct lines in the sand.

Should this type of site be allowed to aggregate the material without our permission and have others add to the information as well. It’s an ethics thing a suppose, just because we can do it should we do it. For me it’s just way to spooky.

This is one time I don’t want it to live long and prosper.

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