Thursday, December 4, 2008

I Don't Trust You

Time after time, I see new and new social networking services. I could've participated in a lot of them, except for one reason: they all say:

Trust me.

Every time I hear somebody say "trust me", I can't help but think of -

  • Read my lips: No New Taxes
  • Trust me, there will not be a real estate crisis
  • No, we're not going to downsize
  • I just need your credit card information for verification purposes
  • Don't worry, your personal information is safe with us
  • No, we've never had a break-in
  • <ad nauseum>

The most hilarious of them all was a request for the Social Security Number when all I wanted to get was a stroller for my 3 year old (granted, it was in almost rural Illinois back in 1997, but I still remember it).

Back to the topic, there's a wide range of information I do not want to share with -

  • Where I am
  • What am I doing at the moment
  • How is my hardware doing (computers, home security, automation, you name it)
  • How soon I am going to be home - and whether I *am* home or plan to be away for a while, for that matter

This is nobody's business except the people I trust it to.

And not necessarily for legal purposes - was it Cardinal Richelieu that said "Give me seven lines written by the most honest person in the world, and I will find what to hang them for"?

I hate to invoke this rapidly becoming tired metaphor, but if your kid dies, crushed by the fallen garage door, you don't care much whether the installer had insurance.

If a social networking infrastructure gets hacked, you don't care much why your private data has leaked all over the Internet and is staying there forever - it's gone, too late to lock the barn door.

On the other hand, if it is you that defines where the information is kept, who has access to it and how it is distributed, you can be reasonably sure that it is within your control - as long as you trust in your abilities to understand what you're doing, and as long as the weakest link in the chain - the people you trust - remains trusted.

And another point - all these "trust me" services do, or will lock you in soon enough and start to do, charge for a service. Sometimes it is a little, sometimes not so little - but all of them, accumulated, will take a serious hit on your budget - and offer little or nothing of value in return. Oh, and you still have to trust them.

So, without further ado, introducing Clan Vault.

<Stay tuned>

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