The beginning of today's Web 2.0 Summit, focusing on big data and, appropriately themed, "The Data Frame," was kicked off in a conversation with Spotify founder and Facebook shareholder Sean Parker. The specter in the room, regulation of social network platforms and their treatment of user data, was immediately addressed in the context of the social media giant and whether its actions are indeed "creepy," a non-technical but apt description of how people feel about the actions and privacy issues that have plagued the social network over the last five years.
Parker, commenting on this "creepiness," made the point that "There's good creepy and there's bad creepy," followed by the more prescient comment, "Today's creepy is tomorrow's necessity." As the conversation continues over the next three days, focusing on the current tension between data collection and innovation and policy, who the arbiter of "creepy" is must be considered. Having the conversation about the best policies for users is not happening in a vacuum; users, many of whom are already airing their grievances with corporate control through movements like Occupy Wall Street, make us stop and think about corporate arbitration of data management policies.
The regulatory debate is in its infancy as we wait to see what's next, but the debate amongst corporate leaders, startups and users continues.