Timely reality check -- see the article for more details
AS long as we are willing to relinquish some personal data, Web applications have long allowed us to create virtual identities that can conduct most of the social and financial transactions that typify life in the real world.
But the newest generation of these services is starting to collect and store far more than just the standard suite of identity data — name and address, phone, Social Security or credit-card numbers — that populates the databases of banks and credit-card processors. They increasingly store information, generated by us, that is directly linked to those virtual identities.
And users are loving them.