Who owns your personal information?
There are increasing concerns about who has access to information about consumers, whether it be marketing firms with their "targeting" based on your credit card usage, selling of cell-phone call records, or what keywords you may have used in a search engine. Just today there was an article in the New York Times by Katie Hafner entitled "After Subpoenas, Internet Searches Give Some Pause" concerning government efforts to force Google to hand over records of user search queries. Beyond the usual privacy concerns, my big question is this:
Who owns information about a consumer?
And I would suggest that the answer should simply be: The consumer owns all information about the consumer. It should not be Google's or any other vendor's property to do with as they please.
I've been working on a white paper that concerns how to use software agent technology to support the development of a quantum-leap knowledge-based web for consumers. It's still very rough with lots of work needed, but one of my tenets is that consumers own all information (knowledge) about themselves. Another tenet is that my envisioned consumer knowledge web is consumer-centric. Not merely consumer-oriented, like many services, but consumer-centric in a way that forces people and vendors and governments to accept the the consumer is the center of it all, not proprietary business interests.
You can find my draft white paper here: The Consumer-Centric Knowledge Web - A Vision of Consumer Applications of Software Agent Technology - Enabling Consumer-Centric Knowledge-Based Computing.