Openness and Privacy: Finding the Balance (11:50)

Posted on by Abby Johnson |

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Can a person be both open and maintain his privacy? It’s an interesting scenario and one that many people find themselves being faced with today. To clarify the matter, WebProNews spoke with Chris Messina, an Open Web Advocate with Google.

According to him, openness is a term that is overused and often used incorrectly. In terms of technology, he believes it means that anyone can have access to it. Another element involved with openness is governance. In other words, who has the authority to give permission to modify the technology?

Openness is also used when pertaining to online profiles and how much information a person is willing to reveal about himself. In addition, some people define openness as personal information made public by default.

Messina believes a balance is needed between openness and privacy. He calls the wide misuse of openness “openwashing.” For example, when people call themselves open but don’t have a governance model, a participation model, and don’t allow complete access to their technology, they aren’t really being open.

To make certain that those claiming to be open actually are being open, Messina suggests asking the following questions:

–    Do I need permission to use the technology?
–    Do I need permission to change the technology?
–    Do I have to pay to use the technology and build new innovations on top of it?
–    Are there other restrictions with the technology?

Finding the balance between openness and privacy is the ongoing challenge. But as people start to truly understand what openness is, maybe it will be a good starting point in the right direction.

In this interview, Messina also shares the concept of the “social agent” and how it simplifies many problems. In addition, he shares his thoughts on Facebook‘s open graph and concerns with user privacy, the recent combining of OpenID and OAuth with OpenID Connect, and Net Neutrality in regards to the latest ruling in favor of Comcast.

Posted in: Chris Messina, Facebook, Google I/O 2010, Google Interviews, Internet Censorship, Network Neutrality, Open Source, Open Web, Privacy, Social Media
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