At a conference I attended last month on social media law (I have some interesting notes I'll post soon), I was struck by how lawyers for social media giants such as Facebook, MySpace, Google, find speedy ways to accommodate powerful copyright holders on infringement issues. When it comes to concerns over exploitation of user data, however, their solution is to draft the most draconian terms of service imaginable (knowing no one pays real attention), consider themselves legally covered when user complaints crop up, and occasionally ratchet down the terms or otherwise execute a subtle course change when things begin to get ugly: as with Beacon, or Billy Bragg, or, presumably soon, Google Reader.
We're going to further explore this topic in a panel I'll moderate at OnHollywood on June 10th. What do you think about different approaches to managing user data? If none of the poll answers fit or you want to expand, please comment.