Sunday, January 29, 2012

Privacy? You're kidding..right?

In the past few days I have been thinking about privacy. It has brought a lot of fundamental questions to the forefront. Changes are afoot, with both Google and Facebook making fundamental changes to the relationship between user and the provider.

Make no mistake, both Google and Facebook are businesses whose prime directive is to increase profit while trying to convince the end user that they are "simplifying" (Googles spin on privacy changes) or that they want to "enrich your experience through Timeline" (Facebook propaganda).

The context is slightly different, but the motive is the same. These companies want to make more money, and I don't have a problem with that. They provide a free service and the end user can choose not to use this free service.

Personally, I love Google, and Facebook less so, but I trust neither.

Does "privacy" matter?

Yes it does, but at the end of the day it is a personal responsibility. However people need to understand that there is an emerging permanence being attached to every scrap of data posted, all of which will be searchable.

Should people be worried about this?

Yes, they should. Both of these networks dominate the internet, and need to be held in check to the same degree that SOPA was. Ying meet Yang. Google now potentially controls your operating system (Android), your email (Gmail) , social networking (G+) ,videos (Youtube), GPS, Google Maps, Google Earth, Google Images, Google News and on and on and on......

Should I personally be worried about this?

Small picture? No. Nobody cares that you just made a fried egg sandwich [even though that pic was awesome!!!!] or that you just finished watching that best ever rerun of The Beverly Hillbillies.

Big picture, if you're involved in challenging authority in a serious way, yes. This is because if Google and FB are sharing your information, it can potentially be accrued by people who oppose new ideas in troubled regions. The "sharing" of data is tantamount to allowing the powers that be to spy on you

What can I do?

The simple answer is these networks are free, and you need not be a member, but that is not a reasonable answer for most people. The best option for most people is to log out of these networks when they are not using them. If you are logged in, you are being tracked.

Most of the people who read this live in places where state terrorism is not a serious concern, but it is worth noting that this is yet another incremental step towards a world where information is monitored and I believe that monitoring inhibits freedom.