"Big Brother with a Bang"? -- Marc Hedlund on Yahoo 360

Marc Hedlund at OreillyNet: Reading Yahoo! 360 through "The Lessons of Lucasfilm's Habitat"

Hedlund looks at the new Yahoo 360 through the prisms of two previous perspectives: "Is it really My Yahoo? Or is it theirs?", Hedlund's own 2001 take on the risks of having a Yahoo control your online identity; and "The Lessons of Lucasfilm's Habitat, a seminal paper from 1990 about online communities coauthored by Randall Farmer, now on the Yahoo 360 team.

A sample:

Now comes Yahoo 360 -- invite-only, of course, for discipline is complete when the subject-line disciplines itself -- and my fingers itch to write "Does Yahoo 360 Mean I'm Completely Surrounded?" But why, why bother, I ask you! It's just not an interesting article any more, if ever it was. Yes, Yahoo distinguishes itself from Google through the depth of the profiles it holds on its users -- the customers they own, or want to. Yes, here Yahoo brings together their knowledge of you with unified services you can use to tell them still more. It's Big Brother with a Bang at the end! Or not! The privacy community and I will get together around a very small table and tip over our coffee cups with the vigorous nodding of our heads. Let's just skip all that, here. Let's leave it aside. Let's talk about something else, rearrange the deck chairs and hope the water's not too cold. Heaven forfend that our profiles, crawled and indexed and blogged and networked, should be updated with the opinions expressed herein, marked with the "privacy freak" bit, leaving us forever without invites to the Panoptical Ajax Apocalypse.
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You should know that Randy posted a response to the essay on his blog.
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