Do We Need a Bill of Rights For The Social Web? Weekly #3

It sounds like motherhood and apple pie.  Ownership of personal data.  Control over how that personal information is shared with others.  Freedom to grant access to personal information to external sites  That’s all part of A Bill of Rights for users of the Social Web opensocialweb.org/ authored by Joseph Smarr, Marc Canter, Robert Scoble, and Michael Arrington on Sept. 4, 2007, which sounds good on the surface.

But what does it really mean?  How should companies treat the data they collect from users of social Web sites.  How can this Bill of Rights be enforced.  Isn’t this overcomplicating the future growth and success of the World Wide Web. 

The only Bill of Rights that makes sense right now is the Airline Passengers Bill of Rights.  The new social media tools allowed stranded airline passengers who had been imprisoned by the airlines on the tarmac for hours,  to organize, unite and actively seek new laws to stop these practices.  Clay Shirkley in his new book “Here Comes Everybody” talks about this organizing success.  This is the new way to coordinate group action.  If the social web some day needs a legally enforced Bill of Rights, the new social media tools will be there to make this happen.

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