The companies with the most market share – Apple, Google, Facebook – want to “own the customer” by trapping them. And the media is buying the crack they are selling. Each of these companies has its own way of doing it, but in an important way, they are all closed systems that have a huge impact on the way we work, network, discover, and play. Facebook is the biggest threat. They want to rebuild the entire Web inside their web site, with “like” tags pointing inward, drawing more and more traffic to Facebook.com. I recently learned that vitaminwater.com resolves to Facebook.com – they have just thrown in the towel and gone to Facebook, because on Facebook they can better identify their visitors, and it’s easier for people to sign up and participate. This is a bad sign. If things go much more in this direction, all the innovation and productivity increases will be brought to us by Facebook’s marketing department. Or not.
His call to action is up the VRM alley:
This Movement Needs a Framework
We have a legal framework evolving at places like Creative Commons, Data Portability, the Open Rights Group, OASIS, and the Open Web Foundation. That’s great. We have standards evolving at W3C, ISO, and OpenGroup. But we still don’t have an architecture for the personal data locker, and we need one. What I mean is that all startups working on some aspect of personal data should be working on a part of the overall end solution – similar to different countries working to build the International Space Station, bit by bit. The best thing we have so far is PersonalDataEcosystem.org, a dedicated group of people from the identity and VRM worlds. They are on the right track, but they need help. For starters, we need a framework for how all the pieces are going to fit together. This may be unprecedented, but I think it’s necessary. It’s as though The Emperor and Darth Vader are building their own space station, and the people of the world are behind in building theirs. Put simply: we aren’t working together enough. We don’t have the traction we need to build what Hagel and Seely Brown call a “shaping strategy,” much less a “shaping platform.” The framework for the personal data locker must show how we will:
- manage our identities
- manage our belongings
- manage vendors
- establish a universal timeline
- manage location and life log data
- manage personal data (finance, health care, career, etc)
- manage security and permissions
- connect to friends and colleagues
- form groups
- send messages
- link data
- protect privacy
- build interoperability into everything
- add services on an ad-hoc basis
The Personal Data Ecosystem is the best thing we have at the moment. Let’s give them our attention, our time, our energy. And, most important, let’s get the word out that they exist. Please tweet and blog to anyone you can reach. Tell them it’s important. Tell them if they want to live free, they need to help us build that future.
We’ve been talking with David about some new stuff around the next IIW, in May. Maybe we should do something between now and then, either as a standalone event, or added to something already going on. Since Kaliya is a driving force behind the Personal Data Ecosystem as well as IIW, she might want to weigh in here.