Technology and Business Law Blog

Social Networking’s End?

Social networking is one of the most popular market segments in terms of business and even from a consumer perspective. Almost everyday a new social networking site seems to pop up somewhere in the world and I receive requests on a regular basis to join one or the other and so what do I do — I don’t join any of them. I am worried about scattering my personal information all over the cyberspace and having it infiltrate and stored in places and in hands of people I wouldn’t it to be in.

Another reason is that once you are a member of all these various sites then it is hard to remember all the different passwords and logins and what information I gave out where. Third, but most important is that I am sheer lazy.

The popularity of social networking has a direct impact on the loss of privacy and in the U.S. the most popular sites are Facebook and MySpace and both of them allow  third party developers to set up different applications like playing poker, getting daily horoscopes and sending one another virtual cocktails and according to this article in Washington Post

But it is often difficult to tell when developers are breaking the rules by, for example, storing members’ data for more than 24 hours, said Adrienne Felt, who recently studied Facebook security at the University of Virginia.

She examined 150 of the most popular Facebook applications to find out how much data could be gathered. Her research, which was presented at a privacy conference last month, found that about 90 percent of the applications have unnecessary access to private data.

If developers and others whom the Facebook user does not know and did not intend to give out their information gets hold of it, there is no saying what the information is being used for.

I get a feeling that once this euphoria of online social networking cools down in about 5-7 years especially when people see that their private information has been misused one way or the other and it has an affects on their lives then people will revert back to good old fashioned getting to know one another on  a personal basis networking.

June 12, 2008 Posted by | Facebook, privacy, Social networking | , , , | 1 Comment

Start a Campaign by Social Networking

Continuing on the other uses of social networking sites, Facebook the premier networking site had been in recent news about how a Canadian backpacker accidentally became a political activist by using one of the features of Facebook that enables a person to start a campaign to create the “Support the monks protests in Burma.” The teenager Alex Bookbinder himself was surprised at how the site grew like wildfire and since it’s launch on September 19th thousands have joined to show their support. The Buddhist monks in Myanmar were protesting the military rule and supporting pro democracy which led to a violent crackdown by the government. To hear the voices and message of these protesters in the “olden days” apart from the hard paper news, television and the radio there would have been no other way, but now because of the Internet and border-less communities of social networking sites medium, massive tsunami effect of real individuals voices, emotions, feelings and insights are being expressed and also being heard throughout the world. Social networking sites have become a great platform for people to have their voices heard and also for other people to hear the voices of the masses and respond to it.

October 1, 2007 Posted by | Monks, Social networking, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Latest on Apple and Facebook

The latest buzz in the technology front has been about Apple announcing in San Francisco on Wednesday about the new revamped iPod called iPod Touch which has features similar to the iPhone such as multimedia interface, built in Wi-Fi and the Safari Internet browser. Also the iPod Touch can play YouTube videos. So the iPod Touch can do everything the iPhone can do except make or receive phone calls. Apple has also entered into an venture with Starbucks, so that an iPod user can download any song playing at a Starbucks store into their iPods.

The next announcement by Steve Jobs was slashing of the price of the iPhone by $200.00 barely 10 weeks since it has been launched with a lot of hype. Apple spokeswoman Natalie Kerris said anyone who purchased an iPhone within the past 14 days and has the receipt can get a full refund under Apple’s return policy if they haven’t opened the product. If they have opened it, they still can get a refund of the price difference.

Now do we still remember the long lines in front of stores the first few days to get the phone and the people who bought it felt that it was so worth it and it was the coolest thing man has created. Well, they probably don’t feel so cool now and in fact will be feeling a bit stupid. It all goes with the territory.

The next buzz is about Facebook launching a public listing search by which even a person who is not a member of the Facebook network can look up someone who is part of the Facebook network. Till now Facebook network has been between people who trust each other and the information put out in the network remains there with the primary focus being privacy. Now the information that is available on anyone to a person not logged into Facebook is less than if they were a member. This is similar to LinkedIn, a popular networking tool used by professionals.

The social networking arena is going crazy with more and more of such sites popping up everyday eroding the illusion of privacy. Surely in a few years it is all going to be one big huge world family or will it be one huge world phone book except with more information available than mere phone numbers? Now one has a choice of not joining any of these social networks and live like the good old days.

September 6, 2007 Posted by | Facebook, iPhone, iPod Touch, privacy, Social networking | Leave a comment

ConnectU files lawsuit against Facebook

Still talking about Facebook and it’s huge popularity gain over all other social networking sites, a rival company called ConnectU out of Connecticut has filed a law suit to shut down Facebook alleging that it’s founder Mark Zuckerberg stole ConnectU’s ideas.

The lawsuit’s allegations against Zuckerberg include fraud, copyright infringement and misappropriation of trade secrets. Facebook was launched in February of 2004 and ConnectU went online on May of the same year, now ConnectU claims that the three month head start gave Facebook a tremendous advantage and so now has 31 million users compared to 70,000 users of ConnectU.

Now could a three month lead make all that difference in sheer number of users. I doubt it, Facebook is obviously doing something right to get the lion’s share of the market.

The original lawsuit was filed in 2004 and while the matter is still under litigation, Facebook has focused on growing so large and becoming the number one social networking site in the world, to the extent that Yahoo offered to buy it for 1 billion dollars and now after Facebook turned down that offer Yahoo is developing it’s own social networking site called Yahoo Mosh and Google is doing the same called Socialstream. Now we hope these new social networking sites turn out to be different and unique from the existing ones.

July 26, 2007 Posted by | IP infringement, Social networking, Technology and law | Leave a comment