Want to see Paris Hilton's MySpace profile? How about Lindsay Lohan's? Don't worry about those pesky privacy settings. Thanks to "data portability," a faddish technology movement that the Valley has been buzzing about for months, you can see any profile you want on MySpace. Byron Ng, a Canadian computer technician with a knack for finding Web security holes, has discovered that Yahoo's integration with MySpace makes it easy to view photos for any profile. These images, which Ng obtained from Hilton's and Lohan's profiles, speak to the danger Yahoo and MySpace's lax data-sharing habits pose:
Byron Ng's instructions for viewing any MySpace profile:
Facebook launched its Japanese-language version today and vision-questing, globe-trotting CEO Mark Zuckerberg magically appeared in the land of the rising sun to take reporters' questions. Among the queries: What's the deal with Facebook dropping Google Friend Connect, the search engine's new service that sucks data out of rival social networks? Zuck explained:
Who are these people? That's the problem I've long had with sites like Twitter and eBay, which offer anonymous user names and little else to go by. And that's been the charm of Facebook, which aims to tie online identities with real ones by asking for work and school information, which is harder to fudge than a screen name. Had eBay and Twitter announce a partnership to share data with Facebook, I'd be impressed. Instead, they, as well as Yahoo, have partnered with MySpace instead to share profile data. Buffoonish technopundits are hailing this as an "advance in data portability." But what does it really mean? Now, in addition to a login like "awesomeguy1980," I'll get to see drunken party snapshots of someone before I reject their Twitter follower request.
Photo sharing site and Yahoo subsidiary Flickr released a new friend finder feature yesterday that will search your email contact lists, much like many other social networking sites have done over the past few years. The difference is that rather than giving Flickr your email and password to access your account, you're taken to a page from your email provider, providing an extra layer of security and winning some kudos from the data portability crowd. However, Flickr users about to be deluged by friend requests from anyone they've ever traded emails with probably won't be so amused. In a completely unrelated development, original Ludicorp project Game Neverending is now back online, complete with a fake announcement from Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang.
Caring is sharing, people, especially when it comes to your personal data. Leading developers from important social-network sites joining a "data-portability" advocacy group doesn't represent history in the making. It's a marketing campaign to make everyone feel sickly sweet, knowing that these websites are so concerned about our information. Like the Care Bears, by signing on to the DataPortability Working Group, top coders like Brad Fitzpatrick, Dave Recordon, and Ben Ling have joined forces to form a group which we can only call by one name. Presenting: The Share Bears!