Privacy is not obsolete

Posted on March 1st, by Brett in Web Stuff. 1 Comment

Privacy is not obsolete. It is not an idea that faded away. Some people do not have a problem at all with posting their entire life on Facebook for their friends, friends of friends and family members of those friends of friends to see into their open life.

This generation depends on the number of comments they receive per post. Logging into Facebook every hour or every ten minutes to see what they missed when they are letting life in front of them pass by. While walking my dogs, this girl was so in tuned to her phone that she never looked up to see the others walking in front of her nor to see the 6 piles of garbage bags she tripped right into. I saw that she was trolling through Facebook.

“People will give up freedom for convenience, but if you give them both, eventually the choose the option with freedom.” – Eben Moglen, Professor of Law at Columbia University

Facebook is worth an estimated $75 billion and they recently went public to raise more money. When Google when public, they were worth an estimated $23 billion. What 99% of all Facebook consumers never ask is, “how do they get their money?” Most assume it is from the advertisements they see on the sidebars but when using a mobile device, there are no advertisements. Most consumers use a mobile device to access Facebook. So, how do they get $75 billion? Data. Facebook knows your exact age, what movies and music you like, what hobbies you have, where you work, an estimated amount of money you make per the job you have, your phone number, who your family members are that are on Facebook, how much traveling you do, the restaurants and locations you check-in to, keywords scraped from the posts that you either make live or private, photos that you delete and past information you voluntarily put on the timeline.

The timeline was not launched so people could see that you started playing baseball in 1989. It is another way to collect even more data from you that started before you joined Facebook in 2004 or so. How many people posted their first jobs that they had or maybe the middle school and high school they attended. What about love interests or a better way to host their scanned photos from the past.

Why do you think Facebook’s privacy policy changes? How many people actually look at their privacy policy more than twice per year, if that? Max Schrems is an Austrian law student used the court system to force Facebook to give all of the data they collected on him. 1,222 pages is what it resulted and there was data in there that he did not agree to let Facebook have, per the Facebook privacy policy.

In Europe, people are realizing that Facebook’s main focus is surveillance. Is Google+ a better option? I would not count on it. People use their search engine, check email through Gmail, post videos to YouTube, store their photos on Picasa, use Google to obtain analytics on their website, use Alerts to find when new information is on the internet with that keyword, store their non-Office documents both public and private, post stories on Blogger and they even have their own internet browser so they can see what people are looking at. If there is any company more dangerous to have my personal data, I would have to say it is Google.

Starting today, March 1, 2012, Google is taking their 60 privacy policies and combining them into just one. Before today, they were already collecting data per user from each individual Gmail, Youtube and G+ accounts, but each account was treated separately.  You won’t really see any difference as a user but now they are generating one single database with all collected data sent by your actions. This means the search terms you type in Google search and watched on YouTube are now combined so that they can specifically market to your interests but (this is the kicker) also be able to sell your searching data. They are not collecting more data than they were before but they’re going to be able to do more while all being associated with your Google account.

Do I have anything to hide? No, I am not but I hold tight to my freedom. If you look at my Youtube and Google browsing history you will find searches related to eCommerce, eBay, competitor softwares, speaking Mandarin, bands, specific songs, guitar chords, cooking, New York, MMA fights and web design. Personally, I just do not like an all-in-one holding all of my data collectively. This is why I cleared up my Facebook account and I now start using other services besides Google’s.

I used to want to work for Google or Facebook, but now they are making “Demolition Man” more and more real. What do I mean? The movie takes place in 2032 featuring futuristic driverless cars, face recognition in the mall, displaying ads based on that person’s interests and voice activated devices. When the movie was created, I’m sure they did not think that kind of technology would be around in 20 years as they projected it to be 50 years.

Google has a driverless car that they are testing in California. Nevada is the first state to pass autonomous vehicle legislation and DOT is already rewriting their legal framework. Face recognizing billboards are already in UK malls. The issue with Demolition Man that made it very unrealistic is that cursing, fatty foods and sexual intercourse were illegal. This country is far from establishing those principals!

To wrap up my longest post to date, I am going to withdraw from using bigger search engines unless I am searching for a specific term where the results would return scarce. I will not use social networks to display my entire life as I have in the past. I cherish my freedom and I do not agree with companies making money off of my internet presence they way these giants have shifted their focus.



One thought on “Privacy is not obsolete

  1. You have chosen what I would consider is the right way to handle this alleged invasion of privacy. I for one could care less…knowledge, in any form is power. Data is knowledge. Therefore data collection makes the collector more powerful, making, in man cases, my life easier. Nothing bothers me more than people who gripe about privacy concerns and keep using the stuff they’re complaining about. More people should be like you.

Latest Posts

I try to share my life experiences and describe situations as I see them, sense them and live them. While living and exploring NYC while working with eBay, Amazon, Craigslist and eCommerce clients all day, I experience a variety of situations worth blogging about.

7 Staples Essential for Change in third-World Countries

It’s been 4 months since I visited Haiti. For some reason it is still vivid and fresh on my mind. I continue to think...

Haiti – The Wedding

At a loss for words, I hand him an acoustic guitar. I had just learned his name was Jeff but I knew I was...