Not to be a naysayer Bloglines, but...

So Bloglines is pushing a "solution" to the problem around RSS and Atom privacy. From TechCrunch:

You can have private pages in places like Flickr and MySpace, but your page’s RSS feed can still be discovered by search engines. That’s what this new standard aims to change. The proposed standard will allow XML/RSS/Atom feed publishers to keep their feeds out of search engines and unavailable for discovery by adding an access:restriction tag to the top of their feeds.

I fear that Bloglines and Search companies may be missing the point here. The problem in my mind has nothing to do with what feeds and/or entries companies have permission to index. The problem has to do with keeping "private" data private.

For users of services like MySpace, LiveJournal and Vox the problem is solved not by handing over the user's private and personal data to a third party and saying "don't index this," it is solved by keeping that data out of the third party's hand in the first place, or at least by giving that third party special permission to access that data. So as to statement:

No formal agreements have been made yet with any other company, but it’s hard to know why they wouldn’t accept the idea with enthusiasm.

Because the solution is necessary but not sufficient. There are a number of reasons why keeping things out of search engines is important, privacy being only one of them. But in the case where privacy is the primary reason, why is that private data in the hands of the search engine in the first place?

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