Respectful software

A definition

I’m using the term respectful software to describe software products and services that:

  • Maintain your ownership and control over your data.
  • Allow you to export anything you’ve entered or imported into them.
  • Allow you to extend their functionality with other software, e.g. via an API, without having to ask them or their developers for permission.
  • Don’t sell your information to third parties without your conscious permission.
  • Don’t track your activities outside of the site or app.
  • Don’t use your name, likeness or other aspects of your identity without your conscious permission.
  • Don’t allow your data to be mined by third parties without your explicit consent on a per-party basis.
  • Don’t attempt to “own” any aspect of your data or computing experience except through fair competition (i.e., by trying to be the best at what they do).

Respectful software is software that is built with respect for each individual user, and is a good steward of his or her identity and data.

What do you think? Have I missed anything?

Originally published at on May 24, 2013. My ideas have evolved since I originally wrote this piece, but I think this definition is worth preserving.