Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Privacy in the Digital Frontier

My whole take on the loosening of privacy controls and more open displays of information on the web is that if one is uncomfortable with the information being presented, then don't give that information out to others. Once you decide that you are willingly going to share something with another individual, business, website, third party, or whatever, it is your responsibility to realize that that information is no longer in your control and is no longer "private". For sites such as facebook, there is a very long EULA which I'm sure nobody reads, that spells out everything, including how they handle your personal data (they do a lot with it!), and by simply using their service you are agreeing to let them do as they please just as it is spelled out.

The internet itself is dreamed of and often described as a place of limitless and unrestricted access to information, yet so many people believe they have a right to privacy when entering into this domain. Nobody is forcing us to use the internet, make blog posts, check facebook, and post on our favorite websites. Yet we do anyway because it is an enjoyable pastime. The idea of facebook itself is one of you (the user) having special access to other users' personal information, ideas, photographs, and so on in the form of them being called your "friends". The act of using facebook is one of willingly and knowingly invading the privacy of others that many fight to protect, though they too engage in these kinds of behaviors. I know hypocrisy doesn't make an argument invalid, but I feel that so many people ignore the benefits they reap from accessing others' information as well.

What it all comes down to is this: if you don't want your information out there, don't put it out there. If you want to remain as "private" as possible, then stay off the internet and keep out of others' private matters as well. If you just can't keep yourself offline, then keep a tight lid on what you say and who you say it to, or throw some money down and use the services of Reputation Defender. They'll be more than happy to help for a fee of course.

1 comment:

  1. "For sites such as facebook, there is a very long EULA which I'm sure nobody reads..."
    This is a great point, a lot of people complain and act like they didn't approve of the third party use of their personal information. Corporations should account for the probability that 99.9% of their users don't read the EULA by making a short paragraph with bold keywords that make it a point that their personal information may be sold to other companies. It never looks good to hide behind a five page EULA and have to tell the outraged public that they agreed to the terms long ago. With everything else being dumbed down, they should have a list of important terms the user is agreeing to (with links to full EULA).