Streetlife outrage highlights cultural divide in privacy attitudes

Nextdoor, a private social network based in America, which enables its users to stay informed about what’s going on nearby is in deep water following the company’s acquisition of Streetlife, a UK website.

Members of Streetlife were outraged last week when they were invited to move their account over to Nextdoor, only to find that their full names and addresses were shared with other members of the application.

While the blunder highlights a fundamental error in the two applications’ integration, it also reveals a significant cultural divide in attitudes towards privacy.

In a conversation with the BBC, one user commented: “I get the feeling that Americans are much more lax about their data protection, more willing to give out personal information, in the UK, we seem to be more careful.”

In response to the outcry the company told the BBC: “Nextdoor is a private network: members’ identities are only visible to immediate, verified neighbours, and cannot be searched for or discovered on the internet.

“We put users firmly in control of managing their privacy settings, and over 90% of users choose to show their real identity and address.

“We are striving to clearly communicate the differences between Nextdoor and Streetlife to allow people to decide whether to sign up for Nextdoor, and this is an entirely voluntary process.”