Interesting elsewhere – 16 August 2010

Things which caught my eye elsewhere on the web

  • Schneier on Security: A Revised Taxonomy of Social Networking Data Below is my taxonomy of social networking data […]:
    • Service data is the data you give to a social networking site in order to use it. […]
    • Entrusted data is what you post on other people’s pages. It’s basically the same stuff as disclosed data, but the difference is that you don’t have control over the data once you post it — another user does.
    • Incidental data is what other people post about you: a paragraph about you that someone else writes, a picture of you that someone else takes and posts. Again, it’s basically the same stuff as disclosed data, but the difference is that you don’t have control over it, and you didn’t create it in the first place.
    • Behavioral data is data the site collects about your habits by recording what you do and who you do it with.[…]
    • Derived data is data about you that is derived from all the other data. For example, if 80 percent of your friends self-identify as gay, you’re likely gay yourself.
  • Ideal Government » Blog Archive » Databases can’t fix society. But society can fix the databases The point about the Databankendämmerung isn’t that all databases are evil. It’s that the state can’t fix society’s complex human problems with giant databases.
    Weirdly enough, however, the opposite will turn out to be true. Even the worthwhile databases are still plagued with errors, omissions and duplications, They need our help. Databases can’t fix society. But, given the tools, society can start to fix the databases. That’s a much more promising way forward.
  • The minor issue of scaling up by 267 million percent | The Democratic Society More interesting is the (unasked) question of how you can give 65 million people the same sense of participation and investment (and thus the same willingness to be radical) as twenty-four.
  • Who talks in riddles, who talks in reasons? – The elephant in the room: web activism and the state I want to come at the topic from a slightly different angle and talk about the interaction between web activists and the state. What is the role of online grassroots and third sector projects in opening up politics and helping government engage with the public? And what are the state’s responsibilities, here – how should government engage with grassroots social enterprise, and how can the state and the third sector best work together to improve our society?
  • India – Harry Metcalfe And that, I think, is the lesson. In these villages, everyone knew the Panchayat members. And when the members walk down the street, people go up to them, and air their concerns. As more than one person told us, politics in India is very personal. People know who to ask, and how the system works — primarily because it is simple, and they are close to it. At least, when it comes to Panchayati Raj*.But that is the polar opposite of the UK, where almost no one knows their Councillors, and where engaging with local government means climbing a nigh-impassable mountain of tedious bureaucratic complexity. Where, unsurprisingly, most people decide it’s not worth the effort. And whence the chattering classes are born: that particular breed of people who enjoy traversing the peaks and valleys of big bureaucracies. If that’s the problem that the Big Society is supposed to solve, I’m all for it. And I think the Indians are probably lighting the path.