A Big Mess

Ethical quandaries over data in an age of Mashups

Joe Bauser / @coderjoe / coderjoe.net

Who am I?

  • Software Developer
  • Open source enthusiast
  • Small-time Open source contributor
  • Casual gamer

I am not an Ethicist

It's all about the data

This isn't really news.

Tons of Tweets

Who owns the data?

  • Twitter makes no claim to your tweets.
  • Can you claim copyright on them?
  • Does it even really matter?


Remember the buzz?

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It's all about the data

Just not the data you think.

Everything seems so obvious...

Err on the side of the users.
Rights to content producers, not content aggregators.

What about the developers?

Do developers/aggregators need or deserve rights?

Ingress Intel Total Conversion

A browser plugin for the game Ingress by NianticLabs@Google

What is Ingress?

Ingress is not a game, but a social experiment; an attempt to persuade nerds to go outside and appreciate art.
Source: @lukasvermeer
Ingress: Foursquare With Space Noises.
Source: XKCD "Location" image alt-text

Source: @lukasvermeer

It was all rainbows an unicorns until...

Source: ~AnxiousNut on Deviant art (Licensed CC-NA-SA/3.0)

The Take-down Notice

Thank you for contacting us.
We appreciate your enthusiasm in sharing Ingress information. Unfortunately, Ingress Intel Total Conversion all IITC plugins, and your mobile Ingress Intel app are in violation of our Terms of Service . We would greatly appreciate it if you remove all works, and refrain from creating any future works using Ingress content. Please reply to this email when the works in question have been deleted.

Regards, Lenette

Pick a side

  • Angry
  • Obvious
  • Indifferent


Get your Torches and Pitchforks

I'm not going to stop using it, and I'd love to see Google try to stop me. Forked the github repository, created a branch at the last point before all the deletions. One would think they've heard of the Streisand effect.
Don't tell me what I can't do.
It's our data. We generated it with our actions.
nethershaw via Reddit
I'd be quite satisfied if they'd stop shutting down useful tools which use the data already there.
Karunamon via Reddit


Question that all of you are asking is why, and that is very clear to me and it’s stated in the TOS of Ingress...
I also mentioned in the first post about IITC that it’s against Ingress TOS. Question on that post was how long will Niantic let the plugin live, and it turns out that answer to that question is until today.
Source: decodeingress.me

Terms of Service

In addition to the restrictions set out in the Google Terms of Service, unless you have received prior written authorization from Google (or, as applicable, from the provider of particular Content), you shall not:
(a) copy, translate, modify, or make derivative works of the Products, the Content or any part thereof;
(d) extract, scrape, or index the Products or Content (including information about users or game play);


Silence sandwiched between vocal minorities.

What about Niantic/Google

Should they be required to provide this user generated data?

What happened?

Multiple levels of failure

  • IITC Developer: Didn't ask permission.
  • Niantic: Delayed action.
  • Everybody Else: Gave away the right to their own data.

Opinion Time

  • Users need rights
  • Developers need rights
  • Both need to be less complacent



Joe Bauser / @coderjoe