API public data

20080427541

Back when I used to include my Bloglines status in posts, I did it the hard way: made a screenshot of a Firefox plugin and uploaded it. Could have been much quicker utilizing the same API that the plugin used. But then it might not have been as ugly and confusing.

Some recent research into various web RSS reader API documentation lead to me noticing the user information made publicly available. Typically the only way to see how many items a user has left to read is by logging in as that user. With the Bloglines API, if you know the email address someone used to register for the site, you can retrieve how many unread items they have by visiting the URL of form http://rpc.bloglines.com/update?user=user@example.com&ver=1. Sure, harmless information. But it becomes public data that is otherwise advertised to users as private data.

Knowing anyone can see how many items I have unread and track my Bloglines usage by that number removes me from reading in stealth mode. And stealth mode is my preference.


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