WayIn and your privacy: Less than zero?

Scott McNealy is back with a new social sharing site designed to sell your likes and dislikes to advertisers. Get over that, if you can.

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Which would explain why McNealy’s own WayIn polls lean heavily toward Republican presidential candidates and professional sports. (No Playboy-oriented ones – yet.) But as WayIn gathers information about Mitt Romney and NHL hockey, it’s also gathering information about you.

Though you don’t have to hand over your real name in order to use the service, you are anything but anonymous to WayIn. First, of course, you need to provide a real email address to verify your account - and for WayIn to send you promotional emails. WayIn’s privacy policy says you can opt out of receiving those, but as of this writing I can find no way to do so.

Connect it to Facebook or Twitter, and WayIn can access any info you’ve made accessible to any other apps – like your interests, groups and friends lists -- then combine that with information you’ve provided directly to WayIn. Use it with your smart phone or tablet, and it has your unique device ID and/or your phone number, as well as your IP address.

Information doesn’t get much more personally identifiable than that. However, WayIn’s privacy policy does state that it is “not in the business of selling your personally identifiable information.” Maybe it will stay that way, in which case it’s just another pointless way to waste your time. Or maybe WayIn will change its business model and/or get acquired, in which case your data may be worth some coin.

In any case, WayIn is more than just a game. It’s serious business. Especially when it’s run by someone who believes your privacy is already dead.

Got a question about social media? TY4NS blogger Dan Tynan may have the answer (and if not, he’ll make something up). Visit his snarky, occasionally NSFW blog eSarcasm or follow him on Twitter: @tynan_on_tech. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-to’s, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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