Buddy Cards and the end of privacy…

It’s bad enough that our privacy is constantly threatened by surveillance cameras, spyware, data leaks, call centers and even Netflix… but 30 boxes’[1] new Buddy Cards take linking together the marks you leave on the web to a new level.

I was reading some blogs earlier[2] and chanced on a blog entry on Dodgeball‘s Google integration that  decided to comment on.

All I did was to enter my Name, Email address and URL into the comment entry field and it, through some funky integration, gets my userphoto from flickr and added it to my comment. As if that wasn’t bad enough, when I hover over the ‘avatar’, I get a link to my (sparsely used) MySpace profile as well as my recent uploads to flickr!


Luckily, Buddy Cards seem to have a reasonable privacy policy that lets you control what shows up and allows you to opt out :

Buddy Cards are a service enabled by the blog owner and are subject to that blog’s privacy policy.
Blogs that make use of Buddy Cards generate a profile for each user that posts a comment on the blog.
Members 30 Boxes may edit and maintain what content appears on their Buddy Card.
For non-members, 30 Boxes searches the web for public information about the person making the comment. Information tied to the email address that the individual has chosen to make public on other sites (such as photo albums and blog posts) is used to create a Buddy Card.
Buddy Cards do not expose a user’s email address

but I’m shocked that this is an opt-out service as opposed to an opt-in one.

Private by default, anyone?



[1] Wasn’t 30 boxes supposed to be hot new web 2.0 calendaring app? Oh yeah, that was before Google Calendar!

[2] Still using bloglines, Google Reader’s still too slow for me. I don’t mind sacrificing Ajaxy coolness for speed.

2 thoughts on “Buddy Cards and the end of privacy…

  1. Narendra


    I appreciate your comments and would like to offer some thoughts about 30 Boxes and this new service.

    1) 30 Boxes is a way to get organized. The Calendar (Timeline) is our preferred user interface and the things that you do online are time based an comprise who you are. For a really detailed look at this please read


    2) Buddy Cards are a service installed by the blog owner and we have made it clear in the download terms and auto-installed privacy links that this is the case. As far as opt-in/opt-out. You are opting IN when you comment on someone else’s blog. If they intall this service then they have a right to know a bit more about people who participate on their blog, no?

    3) That said, it sounds like it still caught you off guard! So we are going to continue working on designs to make sure that as a commenter you are informed a and able to maintain your privacy. This is in a closed beta.

  2. Umesh

    I disagree with your second point. It doesn’t matter what terms the blog owner accepted. When I comment on a blog, I don’t expect all the information on the web about me to be easily visible to everyone who visits that blog. The email address entry field explicitly states that it will not shared with anyone else. However, behind the scenes, it shares it with your service which then brings up tons more information about me that it’s crawled.
    That’s totally unexpected.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *