When your social graph is not… yours!

Thanks to Andrew Wyatt for spotting this great story on Uk’s The Telegraph.

A former employee of a recruitment agency was ordered by a Court to hand over his LinkedIn contacts to its former employer when he was found poaching clients in favour of his own consultancy.

It’s probably a case bordering unfair competition and the LinkedIn contacts are but an element of the dispute, but it is interesting that the Judge found them material enough to treat them as a Rolodex, even though I doubt anyone has ever been ordered to surrender his/her Rolodex upon leaving a company.

It plays however to a topic I have been writing more than once: we need to define more precisely the Digital Self and define not only the technology protocol (e.g. for portability, as in the case of phone numbers) but also its legal status.

This is far too valuable to be left to the improvisation of ill-advised Terms & Conditions or the creativity of a Judge…

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