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Security, privacy ideas emerge at Demo Spring conference

Stephen Lawson | April 20, 2012
The cool new Internet ideas of yesteryear often create the headaches of today, and some startups at the Demo conference are starting to try to solve those problems.

Once the user can see those words flagged, they can delete or ignore one or all of the entries that use a given term. Scanning can also be set to take place automatically while the user is away and not even logged in to Facebook, Mamillapalli said. For companies and organizations with Facebook fan pages, NetworkClean can save having to hire extra staff to monitor those pages for criticism and potentially offensive material, Mamillapalli said. All deleted items will remain available in NetworkClean for future reference.

The service checks anything that's linked to the customer's profile, including personal information, status updates and content they've posted, comments that friends made on those posts, and tags on other people's photos. Facebook provides tools to remove any of those things, but NetworkClean makes them easier to find and manage.

Another potentially useful feature of NetworkClean is constant monitoring of the user's privacy settings. The company promises to make the consumer's view of the myriad of Facebook security options simpler and easier to understand, and to flag settings the user might want to change. For example, it might warn a customer that they have disclosed both their birthdate and their hometown, a combination that could be used for identity theft. This tool will keep up with and remind users of changes in Facebook's privacy options.

NetworkClean is scheduled to launch on Thursday in beta test form, as a free service for individuals. Fan pages will be added soon after, Mamillapalli said. The Los Angeles-based company plans eventually to charge companies to use it, while keeping the consumer version free with targeted ads, COO Haustein said. After tackling Facebook, the company plans to take on other social-networking sites, such as Twitter and LinkedIn, he added.

Tosigram

No one, except perhaps lawyers, likes the lengthy terms of service and privacy policies for websites. Yet they're probably with us to stay, and both the number of online services consumers use and their privacy concerns about them continue to grow. That's the problem Andrew Chen wanted to solve with Tosigram, a service that can create customized terms of service and translate them into a few easy-to-understand bullet points for users.

"As someone who's really focused on the user experience, it's always been a pretty big pain point, in my opinion, to see all those terms of service and not be able to read them, but you still have to agree to them," Chen said. "So I always thought that's going to be an issue that's going to blow up sooner or later."

Terms of service dictate both what customers can do on a site and what that site can do with its customers' information. Well-funded websites can afford a legal team or law firm to write up terms of service just for them, while smaller ventures often just download generic documents and post them on their pages, Chen said. The former is expensive and time-consuming, and the latter isn't the best solution for startups, he said.

 

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