Should privacy/data protection regulation be extended to social business networks?


I wake up this morning to find the above message on my account in linkedin.

Personal plus account? I did not know I had one. And its expiring it seems. I have to pay up. No idea what happens if I don’t

I am sure there must be some small print somewhere. Perhaps an email would have been sent a while ago and no one expects to use a service like linkedin for free forever.

But social business sites are a unique case ..

They actively ask you to invite everyone you know to their network. Ofcourse they can change at any time. So, you are expected to trust them(in this case linkedin). But the question is – how can I be expected to trust something which changes unilaterally on a whim?

Also ..

a) Why don’t people tell you in advance when you join what the fees are?

b) Why would I invite all my contacts on linkedin and then find that they in turn have to pay as determined by the network?

c) What does that do to my reputation with my contacts?

d) If I leave, will linkedin ‘uninvite’ my network or ‘keep’ it?

I think it would be the later

Finally, I hate the word ‘network’ – these are my friends, colleagues, associates – not a node in a matrixans social network. They are people!

This is a new field – and as yet unregulated. Do you think privacy/data protection legislation should be extended to social business networks? I believe it should!. As I do more work on web 2.0 – I see that these issues are critical.

About a year ago, I made a conscious decision to reduce my involvement with the hype and double standards which social business networks are plagued with.

Happily, VCs have moved away from social business networks as well.

I think its time to go back to basics, value people and not networks/statistics AND introduce some new legislation!

For me, this message from linkedin merely reinforces that. What do you think?