Semantic Web pioneer John Breslin has responded to my articles on Web 3.0 in his post on his Cloudlands blog. His post covers two broad issues. Firstly, he adds some important points about semantic web search and the differences between the various Semantic Web search engines that exist. I am reviewing all of these engines from the perspective of a coal-face journalist so more on that soon.
Second, John argues that the Semantic Web community needs to be ‘very aware’ about the fact that Web 3.0 may see new tools and techniques developed that will make it even easier for journalists and others to access sensitive personal information.
During the recent seminar in Oslo on the Social Web I argued that journalists need to be aware that personal information that can be found on the internet falls into three categories: the information people intentionally publish; information about themselves they have no control over; and, lastly, information you make available to specific sites under certain conditions. My view is that these categories are being blurred and that Web 3.0 is likely to blur these divisions further.
Most importantly, journalists should be aware of a distinction between what people intentionally publish and what they make accessible. There will always be journalists who think any personal information made accessible is fair game, but publications should perhaps think about guidance about what information and content should and should not be re-hashed from social networking sites and under what circumstances. The Semantic Web can only make this more pressing.
John Breslin states: “Educating site owners about what semantic data they may be publishing (knowingly or unknowingly, even if it’s just RSS feeds) is needed, and developers should determine exactly what opt-in or opt-out mechanisms are required before implementing semantic solutions,” and he goes on to argue that the Semantic Web community needs to think more about educating people about the benefits as well as how it can minimise any hazards.
Perhaps the first step in reassuring people about Web 3.0 is for the industry and Semantic Web community to agree on a range of specific privacy guarantees such as the bill of rights for users of the social web before privacy problems start to dominate the headlines (such as the automatic export of FOAF files and the transfer of content from one social network to another without members’ knowledge).
Tags: internet falls
, John Breslin
, semantic solutions
, semantic web search
, social network
, social networking sites
, social web
, Web community
, Web search engines