.Net Magazine (UK) invites me regularly with other people to react on a question they ask us. It is then published in the magazine under the Big Question column. They're usually engaging questions, and I thought I'd share with my 2 readers (Hi Mum!) their last "big question":

What do you think will be the main issues affecting the net in 2009?

Here is my answer[1]:

We've been storing a lot of data in the cloud: just think of the amount of private information that social networks have access to. Now, apart from a few high-profile mis-steps, these services have been acting pretty responsibly with our data, mostly because they did not want their reputations to be damaged.

But things are now different. With an economic downturn, many of these services may face problems. They have been making money through indirect models, such as advertising, which may be especially sensitive to a downturn. And if you look at the terms of use of some of these services, it may allow them to do a lot more with your data than you realised, and some of these companies may be more in need of revenue than ever. It is much harder to be good when times are bad. So, are we going to see private data being sold to third parties? Is the information, for example, about the number of pizza and beer parties I've been to this year (which I've mentioned in all my "statuses") going to be sold to life insurance companies?

There was a saying about the growth in online participation of the last few years, that "the currency of the web is trust". It is my worry that this currency may be about to be devalued.

And now we see that 2.0 services get shut down more and more:

Why am I bringing this topic on my blog? Because it's a great illustration of one of the items in the Proposed Mozilla goals for 2010, "provide leadership in helping people exercise better ownership and control over their data". The Proposed goals post is short but very dense, and I thought it was worth highlighting one specific item from it, and maybe encourage my readers to give feedback on our proposed 2010 goals, here in the comments, via email[2] or using the instructions posted in the Get Involved section of the 2010 goals wiki.


[1] Hat tip goes to Patrick for his mad copywriting skills who helped make my prose easier on the reader.

[2] You can find my address pretty easily, just ask your favorite search engine!