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Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community
The intent of this short article is to sound a cautionary note about social networking services, and the author presses all the hot buttons: "Anyone can be subjected to the interest of a stalker" and "people everywhere are under the twin clouds of terrorism and dangerously powerful and unregulated national security and law enforcement agencies." And, in looking specifically at Plaxo, which advises stupid people to upload their entire address book, the worst case scenario is described. Part of his concern is well founded: despite what the websites may say, nothing hinders these services from sharing personal information with companies, governments, and your neighbour's dog. And in addition, providing your own personal information (not to mention someone else's) is something that should be undertaken with caution. But let's not overstate this: true, you may be found in some countries to be a suspected "terrorist sympathizer" because you once exchanged email addresses, but this is not the fault of social networking services, and reasonable people cannot be expected to live in fear of being tarred through 'guilt by association' - or to tolerate a legal system in which this has become the norm.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada
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Last Updated: Jul 23, 2024 07:05 a.m.

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