Sunday, March 09, 2008

Trust and Ethics in the Web 2.0 World

In the web-driven world of today, we're entrusting more and more of our private data to individuals and corporations, and expecting that some sort of "See no evil, hear no evil, do no evil" law is in effect.  And this is all well and good...well, until this rule is broken.
G-Archiver is an application designed to aid in archiving your web data to your disk.  And well, they seem to have broken the golden rule.  When you trust the developer of the app to not cache your information and phone home with it, well, thats not exactly the case.  The developer has seemingly set up a gmail account, and when you log your username and password into the application, it shoots off an email with your login and password.  
The story is interesting merely due to the developer getting caught - the application is closed source, and the fact that they were able to peak in to see the offending code really is brilliant.  But the bigger discussion to be had is what makes this situation unrealistic?  Luckily this time it was a small time developer, but what happens if some rogue google employee were to do the same?  What if a big company decided to do something similar?  Its unrealistic at this point that we just stop storing information online.  But maybe its time to have a serious discussion of accountability and ethics and establish a baseline policy for everyone to follow - that includes, at the top, a means to ensure accountability for the consumer.

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