Bye Bye Facebook

So for the second time I’ve disabled my Facebook account. I’ve also removed myself from LinkedIn. The real reason is that I got no benefit out of these web app’s. Maybe if I had lot’s of online contacts I wanted to keep in touch with then they would be useful, but I don’t. For those that I do want to keep in touch with e-mail, IM, the blog, Flickr and Twitter all do a decent job. I also felt uncomfortable about the amount of personal information that these sites shared amongst my ‘friends’.

The recent furore around Scoble and his removal from Facebook due to running a script raises an important question I hadn’t considered. Who is responsible for my contacts? Is it me or is it Facebook? Facebook have said they stopped a script from running on Scoble’s profile as it was scraping information and they were protecting their users from having their information taken by this script. While that sounds fine in principle why do Facebook want access to my Google, Microsoft, Yahoo contacts when I first sign up? All smacks of double standards. The real reason is to stop you easily moving to another site.

If I worry about my information and who has it online what’s to stop real friends from sharing that information with Facebook, LinkedIn, Google – anyone. I guess nothing really. My contacts on Facebook or in real life have allowed me to store their information making me responsible for it not the application or website that I store it in. Ultimately it is you that is responsible for your information and giving it out to those people or applications that you trust. If your at all worried about it the only person that can really address it is you. It’s a pretty sobering thought, especially when so much of my personal information is easily found on the internet…and that’s mostly down to me. Annoyingly for a lot of the information it’s already too late to clean up. If I could roll back time I would have been a bit smarter in protecting my real life identity online.

Another Fine Mess

So the government has just lost the personal details for 25 million UK citizens who are claiming child benefit. Unbelievable.

“The missing information contains details of all Child Benefit recipients: records for 25 million individuals and 7.25 million families. “

That quote was from Alistair Darling and it’s the first time I’ve heard gasps from the House of Commons. Grand theatre or genuine shock it matters not – this was an amazing statement to be making from a government who are hell bent on forcing through an ID card system that is costly, hard to justify and one wonders just how secure it will be. Type of data missing…only:

  • National insurance number
  • Name, address and birth date
  • Partner’s details
  • Names, sex and age of children
  • Bank/savings account details

Enough to rip off your identity, have a good old stab at you security details on many online accounts and websites and generally ruin a lot of peoples life’s if the details fall into the wrong hands. Biggest shock of all is that this data was sent via TNT on a couple of password protected disks. What?!? It was sent on the 18th of October but senior management didn’t know it was missing until November 8th and the Chancellor on November 10th. Why has it taken so long for this to become public? That is an absolute disgrace.

It’s for the delay and also the Northern Rock fiasco which could cost taxpayers a lot of money that Darling really should step down. He’s a lame duck chancellor and he looks defeated every time he speaks in parliament now. In some ways it’s a shame as I thought he was fairly competent but not now. In fact when I hear his name I just think Blackadder.

Darling: Good luck, Blackadder.
Blackadder: Why, thank you, Darling. And what’s your big job here today? Straightening chairs?