Adda21's Blog


STASI VZ?

Posted in Social Networking by adda21 on September 14, 2009
Tags: , , , ,

studivz

Hyves. StudiVz. MeinVz etc. These are the more recent, “national” social platforms in the Netherlands, Germany, Austria and Switzerland. In Germany, the currently more than 13-million members strong network StudiVz (along with its companion MeinVz), founded by Dennis Bemmann and Ehssan Dariani, has in recent past also been called “StasiVz”.

Stasi, what does that word tell you? Just for better understanding, “Stasi” is a short form for “Staatssicherheit”, the notorious executive force of the former German Democratic Republic.
A less dramatic term which has also been floating around is “Schnüffel”Vz, which, in proper English, means as much as “Sniffing”.

In 2007, when StudiVz counted around 4 million members (notice the amazing increase in 2 years!), people started protesting against the biggest national web platform in Germany.

But please don’t imagine an angry mob in the street; since it was mostly the users themselves, who started deleting information from their pages, setting their profiles to private (even though that unsurprisingly doesn’t hinder the admins from taking a look at your profile), using fake names and photos to represent themselves in this web community, which had become far more than a place to stay “in touch with your friends”.

Why, one may ask, did those people join in the first place. Well, the administrators had dared to change the rules. Actually each and every user had to agree to the new Terms of condition, which “obligates” them to use only “real” information, as well as it allows to use data in certain rare cases of persecution by the law.

So you see, the dark side of the Social Web comes to the surface once more.But why doesn’t it move us that much? Maybe because the platform has gotten so huge that it’s virtually uncontrolable, and people have realized it isn’t posing that much of a surveillance threat. In contrast to for example the constant surveillance in public areas, or even more, a German company (remaining unnamed at this point) which to this day is said to have a database about approximately 50 million German households.