Fred Nails it — User Friendy Opt Out

Over on his blog, A VC, Fred Wilson from Union Square Ventures nailed the debate in yesterday’s New York Times about stored search queries.  In the NYT opinion piece, the author argues for tighter controls over gathering and using search query data. 

While I’m certainly a HUGE proponent of enforcing the proper notification, privacy policy, and adherence by companies with regards to individual search query information — the Times opinion piece argues for some heavy-handed government involvement.  And, while I agree, the companies gathering and using such search query data, need to be monitored and kept in check…we need to be careful to not go to far.  We need to place the burden on the corporations collecting and using this information. 

Fred makes this point brilliantly when he writes:

I believe that what’s needed is user friendly opt-out, not opt-in.

IMHO, it is all about giving the user transparency and control.  Why not give consumers access to their own search query data.  Why not empower them to delete that which they don’t want to be used.  The company that I work for, mSpoke, is built on the fundamental tenants of transparency and empowerment.  It’s this sense of consumer control that makes mSpoke such a great place to work.  I also believe that it is this sense of consumer control (and it’s real control, not just lip service) that positions mSpoke well for the future. 

Don’t believe me on this?  Then imagine a world of search and user query history with FTC involvement.  The only value the FTC could bring to the table is stifling both innovation and value creation — something none of us should be interested in.  Hell, if we are going to do that, then maybe…just maybe we should get the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) involved in all of this.  After all, look out what they did for the online music world during the last internet boom. 

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~ by matflec on August 22, 2006.

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