Privacy, Google, and Facebook: chill!
Posted on July 1st, 2012 by craigconnects
Okay, privacy is an ongoing concern for all of us, it's a real thing. However, there're a lot of bogus headlines regarding online privacy, and I figure some perspective is good.
Most of the panic regards Google and Facebook, and almost all of it is faked, from parties who're looking for headlines or people who don't understand tech, and panicked. Let's just say very little factchecking was done.
There are real concerns, including the occasional bug or questionable decision, but both companies try hard to do the right thing. They consider what's the right thing for their communities in their decision making, which is an unusual business practice. Maybe the big difference is that Facebook takes a Millennial view of privacy (per Zuckerberg) and that Google has a more traditional perspective (as do I; we're old).
In particular, neither company sells your personal data. There're a lot of companies who do that kind of thing, like banks. (That's one reason we need a serious Consumer Financial Privacy Board.)
The deal with both companies is that they offer us services in return for the privilege of targeting ads to us individually. That can be done without disclosing personal info to advertisers.
It's a deal I'm okay with.
Both companies might share some blame for some of the panic around their privacy policies, since they frequently do a really bad job discussing those policies. However, almost all the problems you hear about are, at best, greatly exaggerated.
The solution requires some quiet industry action, and I'm doing what I can.
Normally, I'd conclude with "more later"… but sometimes, I get more done while keeping my mouth shut, publicly.