Interview Questions and Answers

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Chris Saad

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Jan 4, 2008, 10:21:47 AM1/4/08
to DataPortability.Public.General
Hi Guys - in the interest of transparency and also sharing information
and thinking, I thought I would publish a small Q&A I got from a
journalist:


> Hi Chris,
> Thank you for your time and my compliments for your great initiative.


Thank you very much.


> I've some questions, focussing on the consumers side of the story. Since you say that nothing is going to change without their support.


Certainly true - users will need to be educated about their rights


> The first question that comes to my mind is how want to convince the normal user, Average Joe on Facebook? How are you gonna reach him? Which examples will you use?


Users will be reached in a few ways.

1. People like Robert Scoble and other 'Celebrity User Stories' will
help bring light to the issue

2. An education campaign needs to be (and will be) created with
documentation and examples designed for users to understand. We have
started this process by starting some 'ActionPacks'.

3. We will begin promoting the DP Badge as a sort of 'Intel Inside'
brand to look for when visiting sites. We hope this will be a simple
way of identifying services and vendors that respect user rights and
conform to the reference design.

4. Workgroup members and early adopter startups will begin
implementing the DataPortability reference designs and act as shining
examples for users to get a feel for what the world could be like.

Some may even gain or dominate marketshare by having first mover
advantage. As you can tell by looking at the workgroup members
already, there are individuals who happen to work at very large
companies such as Yahoo, Myspace, Seesmic, Disney, BBC, NineMSN, Dow
Jones/Fox and others.

That's not to say those companies have committed to anything, but the
individuals involved are very smart and committed people.



> My guess is that you try to start a buzz in the expert side of the web, hoping that they will reach the consumers. Am I right?


Exacly, we will start with early adopters and influencers and work our
way into the mainstream. Ultimately though, the hope is that a
'DataPortability enabled experience' should be simple to use and
'expected'.

A user would simply log onto a site, grant permission, and their
friends, personal details and media (images, video, documents) are
already populated/accessible - Nothing more complex than that.


> And how is dataportability.org organized? What do you ask of the contributors?


It is organized into two groups. There is the DP Workgroup which is a
small group of well placed individuals who are experts in their field.
People from the companies I mentioned above as well as the people who
were responsible for things like Microformats, OpenID, Macromedia,
RDF. APML, XMPP etc.

The workgroup works to design and ratify things like the DP Reference
Design (the design we are publishing to help developers understand how
to implement all the standards as an end-to-end solution).

They are asked to contribute based on their skills and experience.

The members of the workgroup are much like the members of the DP
Standards Stack - they each contribute something different. Some are
very heavily involved in the actual creation of the standards and
working with those communities (and have been doing that long before
the DataPortability initiative came along!). Some are involved in
creating models for how it all fits together. Some are experts at
creating software for code samples etc and others are great writers
and bloggers for sending out the message far and wide. And others are
simply good at getting attention.

If you want to fundamentally improve how the applications on web work,
it takes all sorts of people with all sorts of talents to come
together. And that's the spirit of DataPortability - to bring
standards and people together and to put them in context to create
something greater than the sum of its parts.

Then there is the Public Google Group. This is where the documentation
is published and anyone and everyone can join in, comment on the work
being done, suggest changes, help each other and promote their own DP
enabled projects.




> Once again, thanks for your time.


No worries - happy to help

Chris Saad

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Jan 7, 2008, 4:43:02 AM1/7/08
to DataPortability.Public.General
I was asked some more questions... This time by Ouriel Ohayon - so
here are my answers. He asked me what I thought were the top 3
concerns for Portable Social Network privacy.... my answers...


Regarding privacy here are my thoughts on the top 3 problems

1. Perception: Privacy Concerns are somewhat over-exaggerated - just
like with any new system/approach. If I email you, you get my email
address. Why wouldn't the same thing happen if I 'friend' you on a
social network. The question is not if Robert Scoble had a right to
get the data and the data of his friends - the question is why
Facebook won't let him.

2. Control: "Privacy" is just a subset of a broader issue of
"Control". Facebook and others can give lots of Privacy but ultimately
give very little Control and. A whole set of other Control features
are needed including DataPortability support. Facebook and others like
to pretend they are protecting users - but actually they are just
protecting their business model. Open will always win though.

3. Language: Privacy is a very poor, out-dated word. Is a social world
privacy is less of a concern than complexity and information overload.
We need to move onto more practical words such as permissions and
trust. Words that let users act.

Chris

Jonathan Trenn

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Jan 7, 2008, 9:03:21 AM1/7/08
to dataportabi...@googlegroups.com
Chris...a few suggestions.

Again, I'm not a technology oriented guy.  I'm in marketing and PR.  But more importantly, a 'consumer' so to speak...the "average Joe" that the reporter asked about. 

I guess two points jump out to me related from your answers.

1) Privacy is not a subset of control.  They are two very large issues often overlapping.  Often one will be of primary importance on a particular issue, the other secondary.  Often they will equally prominent.

2) The privacy issue is not overrated.  Not at all.  Instead it needs to be put into context.

An explanation...

1) Privacy is the going to be the most tangible issue for what I would think is most "Joe Consumers".  At least at first.  With Beacon, it was the concept that both Facebook and the vendor had decided that Facebook was going to be involved in the consumer-vendor relationship in the first place.  Without the consumer's permission...or prior knowledge.  And the result of that new dynamic was that Facebook would essentially broadcast the purchasing info to someone's "friends".  The initially offensive thing here is the broadcasting of private information.  That's privacy.   The second offensive aspect was the lack of control in preventing it. 

But my point is that people don't want their private behavior - in this case purchases - being broadcast.  And if, yes, that's the way it goes, then sure they absolutely want control.  But they don't want to be in a situation in which they have to battle for control in the first place.  They want their privacy.  They don't what that dynamic changed.

Here's a post I wrote about it:  http://marketingconversation.com/2007/11/24/facebook-beacon-inst-in-the-users-interest-that-means-you/


2) Privacy as being overrated.  I strongly urge you not to position it that way.  The Beacon example is a perfect example as to why it is not overrated.  Ask the guy who bought that wedding ring and had Beacon reveal it.

But privacy is often misunderstood as pretty much all of us have all sorts of info on our lives stored away in all sorts of databases.  That's why I wrote that we have to put it into context.  The thing is that we expect a certain level of privacy - as in Beacon - but are now continually finding that that expectations are being violated. 

I realize that data portability is not Beacon and Beacon is not data portability.  And I realize that strictly within the concept of data portability, control is the overriding issue.  But as more and more "Average Joes" integrate their livers into the digital arena, more and more are going to want to maintain that level of privacy and have that level of control of that newly integrated presence.

Food for thought.

Chris Saad

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Jan 8, 2008, 1:15:21 AM1/8/08
to DataPortability.Public.General
Hi Jonathan - thanks for taking the time to suggest better approaches
to the message. Some responses below.

On Jan 8, 12:03 am, "Jonathan Trenn" <jtr...@abrahamharrison.com>
wrote:
> Chris...a few suggestions.
>
> Again, I'm not a technology oriented guy.  I'm in marketing and PR.  But
> more importantly, a 'consumer' so to speak...the "average Joe" that the
> reporter asked about.

Don't say that like it's a bad thing :)

>
> I guess two points jump out to me related from your answers.
>
> 1) Privacy is not a subset of control.  They are two very large issues often
> overlapping.  Often one will be of primary importance on a particular issue,
> the other secondary.  Often they will equally prominent.

I understand these may be traditionally treated as separate issues or
the general public perceives them as such, but from a system
engineering point of view we need to build in privacy into the
controls. And Privacy levels and options are just one such set of
controls.

To quote Elias from the workgroup discussion:
http://groups.google.com/group/dataportability/browse_thread/thread/b099ea6c8be2da87

"And of course privacy is a form of control. Subset maybe, but what
else is a sibling of the subset? I think privacy is a pretty broad
thing.

Privacy, is my eyes, is person specific. My two best friends, dont
want to reveal their salaries, wheres my third friend openly admits
his 300k sales salary. The point about data like such, is that
everyone has their own interpretation. I am slowly getting pedantic
about giving out my email address, because by controlling it, i
prevent spam. Others dont care. It is interesting you mention email
addresses, because when I researched this whole issue a a few years
back, i noticed all the major sites seem to exclude e-mail as
personally identifiable information in therm terms of service (and
which I recently had a whinge about re facebook [1])

To me, privacy is the right to control
1) who sees 2) what data about you, 3) when you want them to. I am
more than happy to share my birth date to, say members of the
workgroup. A woman in a nightclub, i wouldnt as freely, because its a
automatic determinant of your status before you even get to flirt to
build rapport. People have their own bias as to how they share their
information, and just like they have the freedom to spend their money
as freely as possible, so let them.

So when we talk about privacy, lets not standardise what information
we deem as private or not for the entire population. Its not just
impossible to get it right, but the wrong approach."


>
> 2) The privacy issue is not overrated.  Not at all.  Instead it needs to be
> put into context.
>
> An explanation...
>
> 1) Privacy is the going to be the most tangible issue for what I would think
> is most "Joe Consumers".  At least at first.  With Beacon, it was the
> concept that both Facebook and the vendor had decided that Facebook was
> going to be involved in the consumer-vendor relationship in the first
> place.  Without the consumer's permission...or prior knowledge.  And the
> result of that new dynamic was that Facebook would essentially broadcast the
> purchasing info to someone's "friends".  The initially offensive thing here
> is the broadcasting of private information.  That's privacy.   The second
> offensive aspect was the lack of control in preventing it.
>
> But my point is that people don't want their private behavior - in this case
> purchases - being broadcast.  And if, yes, that's the way it goes, then sure
> they absolutely want control.  But they don't want to be in a situation in
> which they have to battle for control in the first place.  They want their
> privacy.  They don't what that dynamic changed.
>
> Here's a post I wrote about it:http://marketingconversation.com/2007/11/24/facebook-beacon-inst-in-t...

The thing is that while Privacy is certainly important, in the end
these are *social* platforms. By definition they are about sharing.
The problem with Facebook Beacon was not that it was sharing, but
rather it was sharing the WRONG information in the WRONG way.

Also again, don't forget, just because data is portable or accessible
does NOT mean it is public or 'open'. This is why I stayed away from
the 'Open Data' terminology when thinking up DataPortability. Just
like a Hard Drive and a PC that runs certain applications, ultimately
the applications that USE the data that need to ensure they treat the
data with respect - or users will simply stop using them.

>
> 2) Privacy as being overrated.  I strongly urge you not to position it that
> way.  The Beacon example is a perfect example as to why it is not
> overrated.  Ask the guy who bought that wedding ring and had Beacon reveal
> it.
>
> But privacy is often misunderstood as pretty much all of us have all sorts
> of info on our lives stored away in all sorts of databases.  That's why I
> wrote that we have to put it into context.  The thing is that we expect a
> certain level of privacy - as in Beacon - but are now continually finding
> that that expectations are being violated.
>
> I realize that data portability is not Beacon and Beacon is not data
> portability.  And I realize that strictly within the concept of data
> portability, control is the overriding issue.  But as more and more "Average
> Joes" integrate their livers into the digital arena, more and more are going
> to want to maintain that level of privacy and have that level of control of
> that newly integrated presence.

You are right that DP should NOT be positioned that Privacy is not
important - that is certainly not my intention with my answers. But
being important and being a major sticking point is two different
things.

Again I tend to think of this as one big Hard Disk. While you provide
read/write permissions to folders on a network (for privacy) it is
ultimately up to the people and applications you trust to respect your
privacy and not just start emailing your word docs to your friends.

>
> Food for thought.

I appreciate the input!
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