A Bill of Rights for Users of the Social Web


There are already many who support the ideas laid out in this Bill of Rights, but we are actively seeking to grow the roster of those publicly backing the principles and approaches it outlines. That said, this Bill of Rights is not a document “carved in stone” (or written on paper). It is a blog post, and it is intended to spur conversation and debate, which will naturally lead to tweaks of the language. So, let’s get the dialogue going and get as many of the major stakeholders on board as we can!

A Bill of Rights for Users of the Social Web

Authored by Joseph Smarr, Marc Canter, Robert Scoble, and Michael Arrington
September 4, 2007

We publicly assert that all users of the social web are entitled to certain fundamental rights, specifically:

Ownership of their own personal information, including:
their own profile data
the list of people they are connected to
the activity stream of content they create;

Control of whether and how such personal information is shared with others; and

Freedom to grant persistent access to their personal information to trusted external sites.
Sites supporting these rights shall:

Allow their users to syndicate their own profile data, their friends list, and the data that’s shared with them via the service, using a persistent URL or API token and open data formats;

Allow their users to syndicate their own stream of activity outside the site;

Allow their users to link from their profile pages to external identifiers in a public way; and

Allow their users to discover who else they know is also on their site, using the same external identifiers made available for lookup within the service.

Librarians and programers designing social spaces and places for online library users – how does this Bill of Rights fit into your plans? What needs to change in our systems? What can we do better?

If we look to thriving library blogs such as AADL or to Hennepin’s phenomenal Bookspace, I think we see these principles at work. What’s next?