Friday, January 30, 2015

Why I like transparency

The idea of transparency comes up a lot around web issues, which to me is just committing yourself to giving people information they need to make an informed decision, so it's a great thing. Now there can be questions about what information is actually needed, but when you are working with folks instead of fighting or trying to fool them, then those can be worked out.

Now here's what I think is a fascinating article on the subject about Reddit:

Reddit hops on to the transparency bandwagon, releases its first report

Where I've linked back to the article on TechSpot.

What jumped out at me immediately was how few requests Reddit got from the government. Quoting from the article:

"... Reddit received a mere 55 requests for data on 78 of its users last year..." (italics mine)

That is amazing to me, but let's contrast with what the article says about someone else:

"Considering that Reddit boasts more than 174 million users, the number of requests the company received is quite low. In contrast, Google’s latest transparency report revealed they had received 3,105 government requests..."

And Reddit didn't even honor all of them or accept requests not to disclose:

"Reddit says that several government requests it receives contain demands to withhold notice from users that carry no legal weight, adding that the company actively disregards these non-binding demands..." (italics mine)

I loved that one.

Kind of have the feeling the government recognizes diminishing returns on pushing Reddit around.

I really like transparency and cheer reports that give people information they need! And that information can tell you quite a bit about so many things of importance.

James Harris
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