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A big step for a man, a small step for mankind

KlaymenDK (713149) writes | more than 5 years ago

Privacy 6

Also posted as a story:

Hello my fellow privacy-conscious slashdotters!

Also posted as a story:

Hello my fellow privacy-conscious slashdotters!

This last decade or so, I have strived to maintain my privacy. I have uninstalled Windows, told my friends "sorry" when they wanted me to be on Facebook, had a fight with my brother when he wanted to move the family email hosting to GMail, and generally held back on my personal information online. But since, amongst all of my friends, I am the ONLY one doing this, it may well be that there is no point in all of this and my battle is lost already.

Worse, if in spite of this I'm still not "on" any of these services, I'm really putting myself out of the loop (and poking myself in the eye everytime I use Squirrelmail instead of GMail). It is starting to look like self-flagellation, and I can't particularly enjoy it if I don't see at least some advantage to it. Indeed, it is a common enough occurrence that my wife or friends strike up conversations based on something from their Facebook "wall" (whatever that is) that it has become clear to me just how out of the loop I really am. Becoming ever more unconnected with my friends (be it in a human or online way) is ultimately harming my social relations (and frankly they're not that good to begin with).

It doesn't matter whether or not I'm on Facebook if my friends are posting pictures of me anyway; it's actually worse than that since I can't know if that's actually the case unless I sign up for the thing. It doesn't really matter if it was me or my friends selling me out. Or does it?

What's my point? I am seriously considering throwing in the towel (hoping I won't be doing any impromptu space travelling) and signing up for GMail, Facebook, the lot (and then using Tor a lot more than I already am). My point is, if "they" have my soul already, I might as well reap the benefits of actually USING the services of this newfangled, privacy-less, ajax-2.0 world.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this matter. To which extent is personal privacy really an illusion? I know some of you eschewing much more of the "generally accepted society" than just the online facet, but I'm wondering, how many Windows-eschewing users are NOT also eschewing the social networking services and all the other 2.0 supersites with their dubious end-user license agreements?

cancel ×


Throw in the towel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25293015)

I am one of the most open persons you can imagine. I have a blog where I write everything. I have no secrets. The only "bad" thing that came from it was that one person once guessed my security question for an online service, as the information was already on my blog. But as long as your passwords AND your security questions are actually difficult to guess, you have not much to fear from this Ajax 2.0 world.

I am personally very happy being open to the world. I speak about my fears, my health, my sex life, my work, my hobbies. And it has mostly brought me new friends. Sure, there are also the ones who just don't get me, exactly because I am so outspoken, but I am sure they will eventually get the message too.

As long as you are not a criminal or a militant (and I am sure you are not), giving up your privacy is not a big deal. If we all keep to ourselves, we can't move on as a race, because we can't share our experiences.

Let me know here if you would like to discuss this more in private.

Re:Throw in the towel (1)

KlaymenDK (713149) | more than 5 years ago | (#25300741)

I am one of the most open persons you can imagine. [...] Let me know here if you would like to discuss this more in private.

And yet, the fact that you post as an AC seems very ironic. I am posting a summary below; if you feel there are gaps in it I am willing to discuss it further.

Use your own common sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25297323)

Personally I am somewhere in between. In a way I feel "I don't care", because I don't post sensitive information about myself, but on the other hand I have also opted out of Facebook and all other similar sites. I simply don't need to have an online profile of myself. However, I am a member of some special interest sites such as forums and other communities. Until I have secret information to deliver over teh internets, I will not concern myself much with privacy protection and will also blow off all those calling me stupid for doing so!

Don't Give Up! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25298241)

Please join the silc channel on the silc network.

What I think it comes down to (so far) (1)

KlaymenDK (713149) | more than 5 years ago | (#25300725)

Based on the comments to this journal entry, today's article, and another place I've posted this, here's (so far) what I think it comes down to.

lurker4hire wrote that:

however if you are socially insecure in some way you may

a) become overly dependent of online social tools as a means of reassuring yourself that you are socially relevant


b) avoid them all like the plague despite the fact that all your friends are organizing their social lives there (thus reducing your opportunities for social contact and feeding a self fulfilling "bah i'm better than them anyways" attitude)

to which I responded that:


c) have a genuine desire to socially interact with your friends, but find it insane that licence agreements and whatnot are required in order to do so.

I mean, I'm already behind because it takes me forever to write text messages -- I usually stick to "yes" or "no" replies; writing an essay takes me longer than booting the pc to write an email. Yeah it sucks, but it's not a skill I want to invest in building, or for that matter invest in an expensive phone with a proper keyboard (my pc already does email, so my phone only needs to be a phone, thank you). I would reconsider if you can find me a cheap phone with a Dvorak keyboard, though!

Also, dangitman wrote:

What I find the most ironic, is that in the earlyish days of the web (and before that, USENET), I was an active participant in online communities. For that, I would often be labeled as an anti-social dork. But today, I'm labeled an anti-social dork because I don't participate in most online communities. Sigh.

to which I responded that:

I don't go back quite as far as Usenet, but apart from that I can identify very well.

For me the matter is more that if you look at my meatspace friends and my cyberfriends, there is no overlap (in fact they are very far apart) -- and this is exactly because technical forums do "it" right, and social forums don't.

Thus, I "can't" and don't talk to my social friends online, other than by email -- which by now is as old-school as Usenet itself, and no longer "a supported feature" of most of my meatspace friends who have moved on to texting and "facebook walling" or whatchammacallit.

Further down, Otter wrote:

I'm not sure what the motivation is here. Either "privacy" is some sort of religious thing for you, in which case giving up Facebook is a small price to pay, or it's a pragmatic matter, in which case you can make a decision about what the pros and cons are for you instead of asking us.

to which I responded that:
Yes, it's a pragmatic matter. Nowadays, only a minority have no phone, and I believe the general consensus is that it would make it hard to stay in touch with your friends. So yes, you could say that modern man depends on third-party corporations to maintain his personal friendships. Fair or not, it's a fact of life, which I don't dispute.

It seems that Facebook (et al) is "the new phone", what you have to have in order to stay in touch. Now, I don't know how it was in the 1870s, but surely the terms to become "hooked up" weren't as cryptic and excessive as what we see today.

In a similar vein, fiannaFailMan writes that

For years I swore that I'd never get a cell phone. I held out admirably until about 2003/04 or thereabouts, but I had to succumb. The reason was that everyone else had one, and social etiquette had moved on to the point where it was considered rude not to call in certain situations, not to return a call promptly, and social events were being organised and plans adjusted with such speed that it was all but impossible to be kept in the loop with a landline and payphones alone.

It's similar to how there are people who live in rural or suburban areas who would probably love to be able to live without a car, but a lot of the infrastructure and social norms that would have made that feasible in the past are no longer around.

Society expects you to be able to have personal mobility and instant availability for communication, and it works on the assumption that you do.

Judging by the experience posted, it looks like some people are holding back on the social networking thing and finding it difficult because of peer pressure pushing them into it. Interesting how society forces a body to conform.

kesuki commented on a series of posts exposing this nickname's wide online occurrence:

this is why i love slashdot. a guy who is worried about privacy, exposed for all to see anyways. you can't do stuff on the net that involves logins and ids, and remain private.

to which I responded that:

I know you think you all got me cornered here, but I disagree.

I know that I put that info on there. What I have a problem with is:

a) not at all: me posting info, or sharing info through sites of my own free choice.
Come on, if I had a problem with this, why would I use the same nick all over the place? (Or, is this really a conspiracy of different users all using the same nick in order to thwart attempts to classify "a person"? Bwahahaa....sigh.)

b) some, but not so much: people posting info about me through sites of their choice.

c) very much: having to choose between degraded relations, or using sites I for various reasons would rather not choose.

One poster agrees with me; MLCT wrote this entry to which I have not responded:

Facebook implemented without asking anyone anything - until there was a public outcry. []

Facebook made it impossible for you to delete your account - until there was a public outcry.

"developers" of "applications" can see a great deal of your private data - this has not been fixed - there has not been a public outcry yet.

If it was private data and how much I choose to let others on the web see then that would be one thing. The issue I see with facebook is that they themselves seem to want to exploit your data at every single stage. Things like the inability to delete your account and "opt-out" services should be the anathema of any business that cares about privacy [...]

In the end, what it seems to come down to, is this:

My concern is that, in this online world, tending my friendships is increasingly difficult to separate from third parties (corporate or otherwise) and their rules.

So it's not about being online or not, it's not about wanting to be invisible, it's about separating the personal from third-party interests.

I now have two options: (a) to sign up for Facebook with minimal info and be able to partake in my friends' communications, or (b) wait a few years to see what happens on the whole social networking scene, in tech as well as general opinion. Perhaps, given time, people will smarten up in their uncritical use, like they have with email (oops, bad example, motorized traffic then).

Re:What I think it comes down to (so far) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25310067)

If your friends keep posting information about you and your pictures, you need to sit down and have a chat with them! And I don't mean an online chat...

Seriously, if they are your friends, they need to honor your wishes. Nobody has the right to expose someone else in public. Or just change your friends!

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