Trustable Tagging Agents

I’ve been wondering for some time now why we don’t see more software agents posting into del.icio.us. I wrote one a long time ago as part of some work I was doing; that agent would search for things that had been posted a lot and then tag them with the tag a.big.fat.one; it would masqueade as me when it posted. I wish I’d given it it’s own account, mr_trend_watcher say.

So. I see that Alex Bosworth has written a del.icio.us software agent. The agent’s account at del.icio.us is private.bookmarks; but let’s call him PB for short. When PB posts a URL for you he tags it as for you. You may not have known this but every del.icio.us user Sally has a page of URL’s tagged as just for her by other users. They do that by tagging them for:sally. Here are the URLs other folks have sent me sent to me, but unless you log in as me you can’t see them, sorry.

Oh, look! You can see everything than anybody asked Mr. PB to post “privately” for them. Mr. PB exhibits some very racy posting behavior. Mostly porn, but plenty of health issues, private login pages, tutorials, job search sites, etc.

The wise men in the ivory towers have spent a river of ink on the puzzles around agency. Do you trust Mr. PB to keep these secrets? Mr. PB is running at sandbox.sourcelabs.com; do you trust his hosts?

Mr. PB works via a bookmarklet and you can get one of your very own here, if you trust him. Oh darn, you can’t delete anything you’ve posted.

0 thoughts on “Trustable Tagging Agents

  1. Alex Bosworth

    Yep del.icio.us and sourcelabs can see who posted the bookmarks posted by this mechanism, which is really a stopgap method until del.icio.us puts in real private links.

    I could put in url rewriting and greasemonkey or something, but I think someone else has actually done that, although I can’t remember where I saw it.

    What I am working on is: a) publish the source to private bookmarks so anyone can run it, pick who you trust. b) let you delete things you post.

    I think though from talking to Joshua that real private bookmarks are coming really soon.

  2. bhyde

    Oh, that is a fun thought. End to end encryption of the URLs. The bookmark that posts it to delicious encrypts it, and a grease monkey script decrypts it when it shows up again in my browser. That would keep even the folks at del.icio.us from knowing what I’m privately bookmarking.

    There is code out there for JavaScript encryption; bit though. The XUL libraries look like they might export something useful; but it’s not obvious.

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