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Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Software Services : Trust & Morality

Alex Bosworth writes, as the software industry changes from shrink wrapped product development to a service model, not only does the model for developing and distributing software change, but also the model for how a company must conduct itself changes.He points out that every search, every click, the time spent lingering on a photo, the choice of wording and revision in an essay, the pattern of trips taken, the record of purchases made are all easily captured and stored forever by a web-service. Unlike the user of a packaged software product, there is very little control a user of a web-service has over this data collection. GMail may appear to delete email when 'trashed', but closer inspection reveals no firm guarantee the email ever disappears from their data centers, and certainly not at the time a user clicks delete forever. Detailed personal data that lasts lifetimes, bits don't have a built in expiration date. He points to TiVo users complaining about about embarrassing profiles. Software services have increasing potential to profile and people on a much grander scale than what television a person might want to watch.Rogue nations can profile and target people for imprisonment or reprisal based on web-service data mining as Google has the potential to deliver personalized advertisements. Social software offers a new degree of concerns, as these aim to graph your entire network of friends and acquaintances. Suddenly services don't simply know as much information about you as you release yourself, they also know what your friends think about you and information about them as well. Social software is at such an early stage, it's hard to think of all the abuses this information could create, however abuses of this information trust already exist. Sony slipping DRM rootkits on their CDs can erase a lifetime of good will. The only way to restore or create trust is by over time and repetition creating a pattern of ethical decisions. Look at RFID privacy related issues, online tracking facilities, spyware – we are indeed in a cocooned web world. James Governor points to the customer respect report and notes that IBM, SAP, Microsoft and not one of the Web 2.0 leviathans, Google, Yahoo, eBay is on the list as "excellent" & wonders whether or not customer respect is not an essential part of a succesful online business model!!.Surprising considering the fact that an the list looked different an year back. The most important thing for services and users of services to realize is that trust is an extremely valuable commodity that is hard won and easily lost.

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Sadagopan's Weblog on Emerging Technologies, Trends,Thoughts, Ideas & Cyberworld
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