Too paranoid to participate in social networking sites for privacy concerns? I’m well aware that colleges watch Facebook and school watch Myspace, but apparently the US government does too.
“New Scientist has discovered that Pentagon’s National Security Agency, which specialises in eavesdropping and code-breaking, is funding research into the mass harvesting of the information that people post about themselves on social networks.”
Recently I realised how someone could create a program that would allow someone to take a photo of a person on the street, perhaps with a mobile phone. Then using face recogonition software that image could be run through a database of information harvested from Myspace matching it up with a profile. Technical issue might require the database to be narrowed down to a specific geographic region but that would be one of the few limitations.
Forget the NSA for a moment, this data is public and can just as easily be harvested by someone else. Think about that for yourself, I don’t need to describe this in detail.
I suspect this comes as little suprise to most of my readers. All of the internet developers I have talked to either think Myspace is so silly they ignore it or like the marketing opportunities and use and about it. So, here is the good stuff that you need to exploit this situation for a much greater reward than politicians passing silly laws.
To profit off of this you need to build one of two things –
#1 a secure social networking site where minimal information is public. Number of friends could be public, but who they are isn’t. It will be difficult to go beyond this.
#2 a third party tool that allows users to encrypt data and display it only to select friends or people given a password. Right now many Myspace users input their age as “14″ because right now this is the only way to make their details private.
Once you have done #1 or #2 start building up the PR. Forget an affiliate program where you pay $1 a sign-up or something, you don’t need that. Right now the press is all over Myspace. They eat up any news story now matter how poorly it is written. Put something good out there and this should be easy.