Privacy & matchmine

Lots going on right now at the intersection of facebook targeting capabilities and “do not track” initiative from Tacoda. Marta Kagan does a nice job expressing how many people feel about all this, including me.

The pressing question is what do do about it.

I see 3 strategies:

  1. Do nothing. Accept that privacy is an illusion, or at least make the implicit decision that the risk isn’t really worth the hassle of something else to deal with in your life. It seems like most people under 30 are here, though it’s not clear whether that’s a generational or life-stage phenomenon.
  2. Maintain your anonymity online. Don’t give out your e-mail address, turn on cookies, or download anything, which pretty much cripples your ability to get the stuff you want on the Internet. Might as well go off the grid, buy a Che t-shirt and make baskets.
  3. Take control of your own online privacy. Take the active measures you can take today to manage your online identity (the private browsing feature on Safari and Sxipper are two of my faves.) And get behind emerging initiatives like ours that further empower individual people to take control of their own privacy and preference data.

This last one is the most attractive, but as is so often the case it also requires the most work.

The privacy case to do that work with respect to matchmine is pretty simple:

  • Your MatchKey knows a lot about what you like but nothing about who you are. Yes, the download is a pain-in-the-ass (and it will be optional soon,) but as we get more and more partners on board it will enable you to get what you want in lots of places online without compromising your anonymity with so much as a user name.
  • You decide – explicitly – who you want to share your key with and who you don’t.
  • It gives advertisers – who when they’re not twisting their mustaches and tying maidens to train tracks are paying for all the free stuff online – just the information they really need to make sure their advertising is effective for them and relevant to you.

Wouldn’t that be cool? It’s a movement, baby. Get on board.


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