I depend on web services:

All of these web services are easy to use and free.
I love to use them, they keep my head clear and makes my life easier.

The data and content that I produce is stored on their servers and very often there is not an option to store it elsewhere. I usually think that this is a feature, but lately I’ve gotten more and more concerned about it.
Is this really what we wanted the Internet to become?
Web 2.0 seems like interactive television, and these services fit good as channels.

The Internet is decentralized, open and free.
What happens if Flickr dies, or Google? Facebook? The power of the Internet is that it’s decentralized by nature. If one server goes down, it doesn’t mean that any other one will. That’s how it should be!

There are a lot of different initiatives out there promoting data portability between different services. Mostly it seems to be a matter of comfort:

  • Why should I have to re-enter the same data (name, age, occupation etc) when it’s already available at one place?

Two years ago, 5/9/2009 a blog post entitled “A Bill of Rights for Users of the Social Web” declared that users of social networks should be entitled to the following rights:

  • Ownership of their own personal information, including:
    • their own profile data
    • the list of people they are connected to
    • the activity stream of content they create;
  • Control of whether and how such personal information is shared with others; and
  • Freedom to grant persistent access to their personal information to trusted external sites.

Sites supporting these rights shall:

  • Allow their users to syndicate their own profile data, their friends list, and the data that’s shared with them via the service, using a persistent URL or API token and open data formats;
  • Allow their users to syndicate their own stream of activity outside the site;
  • Allow their users to link from their profile pages to external identifiers in a public way; and
  • Allow their users to discover who else they know is also on their site, using the same external identifiers made available for lookup within the service.

This is all jolly and good :) ! A little less than a year later, all sorts of initiatives to make the different networks more open popped up! OpenSocial is one.

The data pwnage and location problem still exist though, and I’ve not yet heard about a solution to it. Is this the next big question for all of these services? When will the users demand full control over their data?

As the Internet matures, so does it’s users.
And then it’s only a matter of time and a few scandals.