So the Library of Congress (LoC) has acquired the entire Twitter archive.
All public Tweets, from day one.
From the research perspective, this is great news. Assuming Twitter remains up and running for many years or decades, the amount of information (big data) that will be captured and stored, potentially free of cost to whomever wants access to it, is just a researcher’s dream. In the future Anthropologists will be able to take years of Twitter data and perform social and cultural studies. Businesses can take it and mine it for profit, and governments can take it for good or evil.
From the researchers perspective, a dream. And from the privacy perspective, this is scary stuff.
From Big Data to potentially Big Brother.
You can read two good essays by Fred Stutzman on the topic:
I agree with many of Fred’s points…
From my perspective, this is yet another page on the ever increasing book/saga of “is privacy dead?”; which of course, it is NOT dead.
Come on, let’s be smart here and try to anticipate. If this is ignored, it is going to bite us in the behind later on. As Bruce Sterling said during SXSW, we have the responsibility, today, of making sure the Internet, its rules, how it operates, etiquette are all done correctly today. And I say, we must at least try. As Bruce said, otherwise all we are doing is pushing this to the next generation, who will be forced to deal with the problem and fix it. And in the process they will be saying “What the hell were those before us thinking?!!!” And I say, they will have all the right to say so, and I add, “don’t we learn from history?”
Because my stream is public it does not mean it is not my content, and it doesn’t mean that I mus lose control over it.
I don’t want to sounds like a paranoid person, but I just see the writing on the wall. All this privacy stuff is becoming a trend, and is all a new trend that must be understood and dealt with, the sooner the better and easier to change.
Let me give you a couple of related examples. Recently due to changes in LinkedIn I changed I how use LinkedIn and removed all links within to “my work”, including Twitter:
new linkedin licensing claims ownership of ALL of your content shared via linkedin directly or indirectly. i’ve removed twitter and apps.
(coincidentaly the above is the *last* Tweet you can see on my LinkedIn)
And over the past couple of years I have written about the concerns over privacy; an example is last year when I wrote about Amazon, the Kindle and 1984:
But this pattern will continue because *we* allow it to happen; we give up our own individual rights, via EULAs and Terms-and-Conditions; as I said, Dystopia begins with ignorance… And it is all around us; in businesses such as Apple, Amazon, MSFT, Google and other. And governments with their pervasive surveillance (and control), and the escalation on the rights of the individual.
And now the Library of Congress. Once they capture it, it will be there potentially forever, for whatever use by whomever, and without your control.
I am seriously thinking about changing my Twitter public stream into a private stream….
“…Cruelty and injustice, intolerance and oppression. And where once you had the freedom to object, to think and speak as you saw fit, you now have censors and systems of surveillance coercing your conformity and soliciting your submission. How did this happen? Who’s to blame? Well certainly there are those more responsible than others, and they will be held accountable, but again truth be told, if you’re looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror.”