I am a fan of Riya and in particular of the great PR being generated, in an ethical manner, by Tara Hunt. She is articulate and isn’t afraid of calling someone an "ass clown" when warranted.
But I do have an urgent request for Riya to help protect privacy. I think an individual, perhaps a non-user, should be able to opt out of the sharing and feature set of Riya. I should not have to register with the site to do this. Just an option to say "hey – if two people upload their address books and I am in both, please don’t share the training and identification features."
This seems reasonable, right? Just an option to exclude an individual based on their wishes. The image at right was on the coverage page for Riya here. And here is an excerpt that does concern me.
"Now, there is an even faster way to train Riya.
If you click on the auto training tab and let Riya analyze your address book. Riya will determine which of the people you know have been trained by other friends and family. If so, those people will be automatically recognized without you having to do any training at all."
I should be able to opt out of that.
Good PR includes crisis communications, and crisis communication is MOSTLY about crisis prevention.
If I may be so bold as to make a suggestion, ideally I’d like to hear the CEO talking about ensuring privacy every time he does a demo. And I’d like a privacy link on the home page that talks, in plain language, about the importance of privacy for the company. Then be sure to walk the talk.
Two reasons why the above is so important. 1) I am not the only privacy nut on the Internet and it WILL turn into a crisis if not addressed proactively. Just ask Sony. 2) If I were a competitor of Riya, this is where I would attack. Not addressing privacy and security proactively is your open flank. You have worked too hard to leave the opportunity open to spamming competitors. Close the gap!
Talk about privacy and let people opt out of others sharing their identity please.