I’ve recently been engaging in conversation on ReadWriteWeb‘s Google Buzz feed. Not only have there been lively discussions there, but it’s gotten me thinking about privacy, social networking and related topics. As Google Buzz has undergone an extremely shaky launch it’s been fascinating to watch the various reactions people have. My mother, a tech savvy individual and regular participant in some major political blogs reacted with abject horror to the problems with Buzz. While I can see her side (and that of the many other people who were and are in an uproar over Buzz’s privacy concerns), it seems you react by either seeing Buzz as a useful tool or running away screaming into the night.
I think RWW’s buzzfeed is a great example of the potentials for the service as a place for active and intelligent discussions about news and webcontent. I’ve also been experimenting with using buzz through the google maps application on my Android phone, but this still seems unstable and buggy. Of course, some concerns have been raised about the effect of location-based services. Yet services like Facebook, Twitter and Google which integrate my location have done wonderful things in my life — especially in enhancing my ability both to plan organized social gatherings and meet my friends for impromptu ones. I think we end up with issues of surveillance versus sousveillance: now that the location cat is out of the bag, it will take draconian legislation to put it back in again. What tech activists really need to be doing is to pressure the government and corporations to protect our privacy even while enhancing our the opportunity to give it up voluntarily. I’m deeply concerned by how quickly ISPs roll over for government surveillance and yet I want to enable the creative, empowering sharing of personal data that these services also allow. I think it will almost certainly take an active, tech-education population to ensure we forge the right balance.
In any case, I’m thrilled to have been quoted in ReadWriteWeb’s discussion of this topic. Hello to any new visitors to kitoconnell.com that stop by because of that link. I update this site a few times a month but the best way to follow me is on twitter.