Anonymity. The web and SaaS.

Ben Kepes and I recently locked horns over this topic. As you can tell I like having anonymity on the web. There are various reasons for this, but my primary concern is security and keeping some clear demarcation between my private and business life. I don’t blog in the weekends or evenings, nor do I work unless absolutely essential. I made some lifestyle decisions a few years back & have never regretted them.

It is my assertion that in my private life I can be web 1.0 or even (gasp) bricks & mortar,  while in my business life I can be 2.0 & think SaaS is the bees knees.

Ben conversely thought this paradox not only odd, but it represented a doomsday scenario for SaaS.

Let me start by pointing out various posts which hopefully will go some way to explaining my security fears. Steve Borsch does a great job of explaining the Google ‘threat’ and expands on this with some insights into data mining. Then there is the growing infringement of governments on ‘our’ data and viola, I feel vindicated. I know that the ability exists for people to piece it all together, but that doesn’t mean I have to make it easy for them. Shel at thinks this is being anonymous is lame, but I would suggest that anonymity is not only a right but a desired state for some (look at 2nd life).

So how does this affect SaaS? Well to me not at all. I am completely comfortable with cloud services in a work environment. I would love it if by some AJAX phenomenon someone matched my revenue with products that could aid me I or did something funky with my search patterns. I would love a tool that examined my calling patterns & suggested ways to save money. Or something that monitored where I & my Staff go on the internet to manage cyber-slacking etc……I just don’t want any of it in my personal life. I don’t want MS money analysing my spend patterns,  knowing how much I earn & doing any product matching based on their knowledge of my search & surfing behaviour.  That is too intrusive to me, that kind of scenario opens up the world painted by Fake Steve Job’s here.


It will make the old Bell System crooks look like amateurs. The guys running the cloud will control everything: phone, data, video, television, movies, music.

That’s ok in my business space which is open to compliance & monitoring & all those things. But in my world, it’s not ok in my personal life. And like I said, I think I can make these two work quite happily.