Damien Mulley calls the recent Scoble-FaceBook spat a “gnat on a rhino’s arse”. In short, Scoble took copies of 5000 identities using an automated script from those Plaxo folk. Damien says:
I gave Facebook permission to store my data, I give it to Google. They give me some lightweight guarantees that theyâ€™ll be careful with it. Plaxo and I are not friends and they have not asked to hold or transport or fondle my data. Robert gets rewarded in ways with our friendship by being able to access data but this doesnâ€™t mean I wanted him to harvest it.
Coincidentally I was asked for the contact details of an ex-employee by one of the guys who work for me. I swore at my iPhone because you can’t email or SMS a contact to someone (Come on Apple, for feck sake). I flipped open my laptop, opened Address Book, dragged a VCARD to Mail with a little bit of ExposÃ© trickery and sent it off. As it sent I wondered whether keeping an address book on a computer, even as an individual required some sort of controls, registration under the Data Protection Act?
Scoble is a relatively benign example but with 5000 friends on FaceBook he was able to scrape a lot of information. Enough to be a competent identity thief. And when someone asks to be your friend on FaceBook, do you really think about it in that way? If a friend of a friend asks to be your friend, would you accept?
I’m pretty glad I wasn’t Scoble’s friend.