Permission

This is the second in a series of blog posts about the Principles of Personal. See also:

To recap, the first principle is that on a personal network, in contrast to a social network, every member of the network makes an explicit promise to respect the right of the other members to control the personal and/or private data they share via the network. The legal form of this promise is called a trust framework; on the Connect.Me network this will be called the Respect Trust Framework.

So what are the essential elements of this promise? The first one is the very essence of “personal”: permission. In other words, sharing data or sending messages on personal network is always—repeat, always—by permission.

This means that, by its very nature, sharing/messaging on a personal network is the antithesis of spam (unsolicited electronic messages). We suffer from email spam today because email robots can completely ignore personal trust decisions and simply flood the network with messages. This shifts the burden to everyone else in the network to filter these messages out.

On a personal network directly the opposite is true. Every member commits to making a personal trust decision each time the member uses shared data or sends a message: does it match the permissions I have been given?

Whatsmore, even the process of requesting permissions is subject to the same rule: does the member offer to accept permission requests? If so, in what contexts? Under what rules?

To implement this, Connect.Me is following not just privacy by design (an approach eloquently advocated by Ann Cavoukian, Ph.D., Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, Canada) but permission by design. Look for this in the first Connect.Me products coming in May.

Of course, this begs the issue of enforcement, i.e., what’s the incentive for members of the network to play by the rule of permissions? We’ll circle back to that later in the series, but for now, let’s just put this stake in the ground:

The Principles of Personal begin with a promise of permission.

That’s two of the five. Be the first to guess all five Principles of Personal (by tweeting them to @respectconnect – see the rules) and you could win an iPad 2 and a special role in the Connect.Me launch.