July 23, 2012

ˇOlé! Privacy Between a pair of star-crossed lovers

Stories about new ideas in social networking are like snails after rain. Here's "Between," a smartphone app that works for couples only:

"So we turned our eyes to unmarried couples who need such a private relationship platform more than any other groups."

Between lets them share photo timelines, send messages and mark anniversaries, birthdays and other dates on each other's calendars.

Connection to the service is completed when both parties enter each other's phone numbers after registering.

However what gets interesting is when the sparks of anger not romance fly:

If a couple breaks up, one of them may disconnect the service and all the data will be deleted.

ˇOlé! Stories about the hard problems in privacy are as rare as bullfighting at the RSPCA's annual garden party.

If there is a privacy and security problem that has so bedevilled the worlds thinkers -- even to the extent of most of them not recognising the problem -- it's this: if a couple shares stuff in the purest essence of romantic privacy, what happens when the alliance flips and the lovers-until-death become plaintiffs-to-the-death?

"Between in a way represents a commitment made by couples, so we rarely see teenagers using the service...their relationship usually doesn't last long enough to take full advantage of it," said Park.

That is why VCNC's engineers plan to develop a system which backs up data for up to one month after a breakup, just in case lovers decide to reunite and reopen their accounts.

"Think of it as an adjustment period for couples," said Park, adding users quite often complain when data is wiped under the current system.

"users quite often complain" must be evidence of Korean shyness -- if launched in America, the complaints would take hard filed copy form, at STBX's local court.

Still, notwithstanding that date with reality, my hat's off to this brave effort to deal with the *hard problems* of privacy - ˇOlé!

Posted by iang at July 23, 2012 04:44 AM | TrackBack

What is to stop either party from saving the data outside of the system?

Posted by: Mai Mejia at July 23, 2012 04:46 PM

Yes - the solution they have is very partial. The novelty is that they are looking at a real problem, not that they've solved it.

In the past I have speculated that we can solve the question of 2nd party copies by contract - as sharing parties we simply agree not to have external copies. What happens if we don't? Well, there are partial answers to that too. But this is getting further into the topic :)

Posted by: Iang at July 24, 2012 01:50 AM

Please check your email...

Posted by: Freddi at July 26, 2012 02:16 PM
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