the Live Journal sale as something more than corporate transaction

A former co-worker of mine writes about the Live Journal sale; in particular, she has raised concerns in the past about content censorship on LJ and the impact that has on LJ users as citizens. Worth noting (from the comments) that LJ is free software, but that that only partially protects anyone- my friend’s network of friends and content is still tied up in LJ.com.

Heated Debate by Mr. Icon

Heated Debate, by MrIcon, used under the CC BY-SA license (found by a flickr search for “russia you”)

This is just another example of a recurrent theme from our future: what happens when essentially amoral corporations own, and can sell, what amounts to significant part of our identities? Say what you will about Microsoft, but they can’t sell Office to someone and then retroactively turn over all your documents to the new KGB. (Or at least, we don’t think they can ;)

In the very long term, the answer may well be transparent protocols and self-hosted services (like we can choose for email already), but in the medium-term, we’re going to have to figure out something which doesn’t require people to host their own services, but still protects their data and their identities.