The War for Your Personal Data Heats Up

Self-esteem flagging a bit? Think about this: Two of the world's biggestl tech companies are desperately fighting over your trivial personal information. Google just cut Facebook off from accessing some of its data because Facebook isn't sharing back.

Google recently made a simple change to its terms of service that amounts to a big "fuck you" to Facebook. Essentially, Google says it will allow developers to access contact information only if Facebook shares its data in return. In order to use Google's API, third-party services like Facebook must now agree "to enable your users to export their contacts data to other services or applications of their choice in a way that's substantially as fast and easy as exporting such data from Google Contacts."

Thing is, you can't easily export your contacts using Facebook. You can download the content you've uploaded to your profile and a list of your friends, but it doesn't let you export their contact info—email addresses, phone numbers, etc. This would make it easier to pick up and move to a new site, which is probably a major reason Facebook doesn't allow it. Facebook is, as GigaOm puts it, "data greedy." It's Mark Zuckerberg diving into printouts of 600 million email addresses, Scrooge McDuck-style.

So Google is punishing Facebook for hogging all the data by cutting it off from its own. Facebook can no longer let new users automatically scrape their Google contacts list to find friends on the site. More importantly, TechCrunch's Michael Arrington sees this as representative of a Internet-wide trend of "data protectionism," with companies scrambling to protect their own data turf and bricking your profile information behind ever-higher walls.

We feel so loved.