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Archive for August, 2010

This post first appeared on Technorati.com.

This could be you.It was just one week ago at pii2010 that Jeff Jarvis scoffed openly at our culture’s obsession with privacy. Very soon, he predicted, it will be considered selfish for people not to share a bit of themselves online. Sharing, after all, is at the very heart of almost every innovation these days. We steer complete strangers to our favorite restaurants. We help pharmaceutical companies create more effective drugs. The value of personal information is undeniable. But just days after Jarvis’ prediction, we find a new and interesting twist. Now you can give up your personal data for the most unabashedly selfish of reasons–profit.

A New York start-up called Statz has just announced the debut of its online service, enabling users to sell their personal data to businesses–everything from cell phone records to eBay transactions to OnStar data.

It’s a fascinating concept. Maybe even a sound one. But there is one kind of personal information that is not to be shared just yet. If you agree to participate in the Statz Marketplace alpha trial, you are forbidden under the terms and conditions from writing online about your experience until the full, public product launch.

For businesses eager to dig into my personal data prior to the official launch, I can share a few insights here:

  • AT&T Wireless Revelations
    – I pretty much only call 3 people
    – I can never get my wife to answer her cell phone
    – My wife apparently screens her calls
  • OnStar Data Revelations
    – I can’t resist oddly named towns like Humptulips
    – Small children can’t resist pushing the bright red OnStar emergency button
    – I am too cheap to make the jump from analog to digital OnStar

Please note that I am providing the above insights from my personal data free of charge. In the future, I expect to be compensated based on the going market rate.

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The Pleasantries

When we met our old friend for the last time, we shook hands. We did not talk about his cancer, or about his stopping treatment. We talked instead about my father, who had visited him earlier in the day. My father, with his failing memory and pondering, almost dreamlike awareness, had returned from the visit and whispered to us secretively: He’s really aged! These two friends at the end of their lives worried mostly about each other.

For our own visit later in the afternoon, we stayed 15, maybe 20 minutes. We talked of other things, in part because there was too much to say, but mostly because what we really needed to say had already been expressed in a last, simple handshake.

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