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Give Up the Fight For Personal Privacy?

kdawson posted about 6 years ago | from the they-know-anyway dept.

Privacy 751

KlaymenDK writes "Over the last decade or so, I have strived to maintain my privacy. I have uninstalled Windows, told my friends 'sorry' when they wanted me to join 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 my battle is lost already. Worse, I'm really putting myself out of the loop, and it is starting to look like self-flagellation. Indeed, it is a common occurrence that my wife or friends will strike up a conversation based on something from their Facebook 'wall' (whatever that is). Becoming ever more unconnected with my friends, live or online, is ultimately harming my social relations. I am seriously considering throwing in the towel and signing up for Gmail, Facebook, the lot. If 'they' have my soul already, I might as well reap the benefits of this newfangled, privacy-less, AJAX-2.0 world. It doesn't really matter if it was me or my friends selling me out. Or does it? I'd love to hear your thoughts on the matter. 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?"

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Your privacy was eroded for you (5, Insightful)

beef curtains (792692) | about 6 years ago | (#25292167)

I'm a Windows-eschewing user who has embraced all things Google...Gmail, Google Docs, Google Calendar (my wife keeps it up to date, which prevents "You didn't tell me we had plans on Friday!" moments). I also have Facebook, Friendster, and LinkedIn profiles.

It's funny, I went out of my way to keep my social networking site profiles generic (no pictures, no personal info, no personal statements, no likes/dislikes, etc.), and only really used them so that, when friends sent me links saying "Dude, check out this chick I work with" or "Look what this guy we went to high school with us up to now", I could see who they were talking about.

But what I found out is that, if you know people who have profiles, and those people own digital cameras, and you've ever appeared in any of their pictures, there is a chance that your privacy has already gone up in smoke. Facebook as a very irritating feature called "tagging"...Jenny, an avid Facebook user, takes a picture of their friends Bob, Susan and Mike. Jenny then uploads that picture to her Facebook profile and "tags" that picture with the names of all the people in it. If any of those people have Facebook profiles, their names in that tag will link to them. So in this case, this picture would be tagged with Bob, Susan and Mike. Congratulations, your face is now on the web, and has a name attached to it. This tagging feature is optional, but I've found that it seems to be quite popular.

So despite my efforts to keep my image & life details to myself, this has been undermined many times over by Facebook fanatics who have tagged pictures of me, and have added "helpful" details about how the picture was taken at my wife's cousin's wedding, complete with dates & locations.

Your privacy is gone, my friend. You might as well suck it up & try to look at the silver lining: it is sorta fun to make contact with old classmates and to laugh at ex-girlfriends who've really let themselves go.

You might have to join them just to control them. (5, Informative)

Benanov (583592) | about 6 years ago | (#25292209)

I basically made a facebook account so I could remove tags.

I have no applications installed. Installing ONE removes your opt-out.

Re:Your privacy was eroded for you (4, Informative)

Moridineas (213502) | about 6 years ago | (#25292283)

So despite my efforts to keep my image & life details to myself, this has been undermined many times over by Facebook fanatics who have tagged pictures of me, and have added "helpful" details about how the picture was taken at my wife's cousin's wedding, complete with dates & locations.

I agree, the helpful details etc are annoying as anything. You can, however, UNTAG yourself from photos! If you care about privacy (as you clearly do, and I do as well), I would highly recommend untagging yourself.

Take the opposite approach. (5, Funny)

khasim (1285) | about 6 years ago | (#25292351)

Add photos that you aren't in and tag them as you.

Then add backstory for them.

This photo was taken at my sister's friend's cousin's lesbian wedding in Monaco. That's me on lead guitar.

Since you cannot always hide information. You can always try to obscure the facts with the fallacies.

Re:Take the opposite approach. (5, Funny)

beef curtains (792692) | about 6 years ago | (#25292561)

This photo was taken at my sister's friend's cousin's lesbian wedding in Monaco. That's me on lead guitar.

While your whole suggested "backstory" made me chuckle, the "lead guitar" bit was the cherry on top.

The big problem that came to mind is that, were I to try this idea, 80 people would leave Captain-Obvious-style comments on said photo:

"Dude, that's not you"
"Who is that guy?"
"OMG UR SOOOOO FUNY THATS NOT U"
"lol thats not you man!!1!"
"You crack me up, just like you did last Friday at that party you guys had at your place at 1234 W. Main St. in downtown Whoville, corner of Main and 1st (Main is one way going east...if you pass the Kwik-E-Mart you've gone too far). Have fun on your two week vacation during which time your apartment, unit 2E, which has no security system and a bedroom window that unlatches if you jiggle it hard enough, will be empty!"

Okay, maybe that last one was a bit over the top...but you know what I mean :)

Re:Take the opposite approach. (3, Funny)

Mr. Bad Example (31092) | about 6 years ago | (#25292581)

> Add photos that you aren't in and tag them as you.
>
> Then add backstory for them.

They'll still be able to tell those photos aren't you.

None of the people in them will have tinfoil hats on.

Re:Take the opposite approach. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25292615)

Security by obscurity has never really worked. I predict it won't protect your privacy either.
    --Sincerely, Anonymous Coward

Re:Take the opposite approach. (3, Insightful)

mpapet (761907) | about 6 years ago | (#25292669)

I hate to break it to you, but the privacy you strive for is long gone. Even if you go to a cash-only, thriftstore lifestyle, there's still lots of data being collected on you and then resold.

The kind of privacy you are discussing, is the commercial kind. I don't consider it as important as the other stuff.
Just don't do anything meaningful on these social sites and you should be good to go.

I'm going to do exactly as suggested and be sure I'm recorded at multiple places at the same time doing all kinds of dumb things. I'll get knighted by the queen of Applestan and visit the Great Wall after that. I miss San Francisco. I think I'll go there next.
 

Re:Your privacy was eroded for you (4, Informative)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 6 years ago | (#25292571)

I dunno...I just don't find the need to have a facebook or myspace page..etc.

I too have declined to open one, privacy reasons being one of the many reasons, but, I don't find that it has hurt me any.

For one thing...I found that it is not only old people in Korea that use email, I keep in touch with all my friends via email. And not just jokes...we have real conversations,a nd often interesting threads with groups of us on things like political debate. We just don't broadcast it publicly and render it searchable forever.

Also, believe it or not....the phone still is a great way to communicate when you can't be there in person.

I warn people when I can to tell them NOT to put too much out there publicly....some that haven't listened...have already been bitten in the ass by it...and learn their lesson the hard way.

And I gotta say....with the economy getting in bad shape...jobs are gonna get a bit harder to get. And with it already known that many employers NOW search the internet for background on you, putting pics of you out there sucking the skull bong are NOT going to help you any at all.

Bitch about it not being fair to not get a job based on what you do on your own time, or back when you were younger, but, that is how it is today.

On the other hand...maybe I should encourage more people to put stupid shit information like that about themselves on the internet, that will just take them out of competition with me for a good job.

:)

Re:Your privacy was eroded for you (4, Informative)

KiahZero (610862) | about 6 years ago | (#25292321)

You can control tags of you in your Facebook privacy settings.

Re:Your privacy was eroded for you (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25292349)

This is a "religious" argument. Tell them to take the picture down because you did not give them right to infer in your life. If that does not work, sue them.

Re:Your privacy was eroded for you (0)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 6 years ago | (#25292459)

I'm a Linux user who only uses some Google things, like Maps and Earth. As far as I'm concerned, social networking sites are a total waste of time that are suited for teenagers. I do have a LinkedIn profile, but that's only for my professional career; I found that many other engineers I knew had profiles on there, so I put one on too, with only my professional info (nothing personal at all, not even a photo), so I can keep in touch with people I've worked with in case I need another job in the future. All my engineer coworkers on there seem to be exactly the same way: I don't see any personal info on there at all. LinkedIn seems to be set up much more for this type of use, rather than MySpace/Facebook which seem to be set up for teenagers and 20-somethings to post photos of themselves drunk and partying.

As for other friends, none of my friends have accounts on MySpace or Facebook. No one I work with, except one, ever talks about it. Maybe it's because I'm over 30, but most of the people I associate with who are my age and older (into 50s and even 70s), while very well-versed in internet things, have zero interest in the latest fads like MySpace, instant messaging, etc.

So if your privacy is gone, it's really your own fault for buying into this mass hysteria. It's really not hard at all to maintain your privacy online to a reasonable degree, though it can certainly benefit you to post up your professional information (which doesn't usually benefit you to keep private).

Re:Your privacy was eroded for you (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25292621)

As far as I'm concerned, social networking sites are a total waste of time that are suited for teenagers. I do have a LinkedIn profile, but that's only for my professional career

I are serious cat. This is serious thread. [roflcat.com]

Re:Your privacy was eroded for you (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | about 6 years ago | (#25292661)

it is sorta fun to make contact with old classmates and to laugh at ex-girlfriends who've really let themselves go.

But what if I never liked my old classmates and have no ex-girlfriends (yic)?

maybe (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25292179)

but we must never give up the fight for bald pussy!

mod parent up! (3, Funny)

Reality Master 201 (578873) | about 6 years ago | (#25292339)

Goddammit, we have to remember what matters!

Man are you on facebook? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25292211)

Dude, you have to get on facebook.

Re:Man are you on facebook? (3, Insightful)

snowraver1 (1052510) | about 6 years ago | (#25292305)

Why? Who cares how "hammed" someone got last Wednesday night. Oooh Look at all the pictures. Look at all the losers that I hated in High School. Facebook is for people that want to make High School last forever. I couldn't wait to leave the people I met in High School behind, why go back?

Re:Man are you on facebook? (4, Insightful)

0100010001010011 (652467) | about 6 years ago | (#25292417)

Because some of us that hated High School just as much as you did in High School actually managed to make friends in college. It's a great way to keep in touch with people. The "People you may know" has found some long lost friends of mine.

Yes you enter the argument of "If they were that good of friends I would still talk to them". Adult life (marriage, kids, family, work) leaves little time sometimes for other stuff. It's nice to catch up even once a month with a friend.

Oh wait. Nevermind, we all just get wasted and show pictures. I don't have any pictures of kids or sports. My mom (!) isn't on facebook. I don't send her messages now and again. Nope. All drunken photos from Last Wednesday.

Re:Man are you on facebook? (-1)

snowraver1 (1052510) | about 6 years ago | (#25292483)

Adult life (marriage, kids, family, work) leaves little time sometimes for other stuff. It's nice to catch up even once a month with a friend.

If you have the time to build a profile and upload pictures and send messages to people and add friends and maintain your "wall" and look at other people's "wall", you clearly have the time, just choose to waste it on facebook rather then calling the people that you care about and ignoring those you don't.

David Brin wrote about this years ago (5, Informative)

CRCulver (715279) | about 6 years ago | (#25292217)

Science-fiction author David Brin got quite a bit of attention here on Slashdot when he began talking some years ago about how one cannot preserve privacy in the modern world, and that what we have to do instead is adapt to people knowing so much about us. See his book The Transparent Society [amazon.com] .

Re:David Brin wrote about this years ago (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25292591)

I was hoping someone would mention that.

This whole obsession with privacy is a little hard to understand at times. Personally, I just don't see the point in trying to prevent your name or photo from ever appearing online. True, there have been cases of identity theft using information on Facebook, but it's not worth worrying about if you're careful and limit your profile to just general information.

I don't know. I think the world is super paranoid today. It never bothers me when someone in another country knows my full name. Or when my picture has been uploaded somewhere. Or when Google records the stuff I search for online. Who really cares? There are tens of thousands of users for every employee who has access to that data, and frankly it's a little self-centered to think one of them cares even remotely about what YOU searched for.

Privacy is important for some things, but it's not this magical state that makes you immune to anything ever going wrong in your life again. Keep some things secret, and stop being so damn paranoid about everything else. Yeah, Gmail scans your emails for keywords. So what? Nobody other than a machine is going to read your letters, and even if they did, nobody is going to care that you wrote a saucy message to your girlfriend (or wife, or whatever).

I don't have a Facebook account, because I don't have any use for one. Most of my friends stay in contact via email and chatroom conversations. We have no use for an AJAX site where we can tell everyone what mood we're in and what goth music we're listening to this week. Okay, so maybe I have a personal gripe with most online networking site, as they tend to be populated with attention-whoring kids who think write text on a bright yellow background is perfectly readable. But even when used properly, those sites just don't fill any specific need of my social life.

If you're paranoid about identity theft, don't use your credit card online. Don't post your contact details anywhere, or your SSN (or any equivalent national ID in your country). But really, there's no need to be so absurdly paranoid about your photo, even when captioned by your full name. Nobody cares about you! I'm sorry to be blunt, but really, nobody is going to see your picture and then suddenly decide to pursue more information (unless you happen to be quite a dashing young man).

This world is full of people who are all worried about themselves. We have our own problems, and we probably spend our private time doing all the same things you do. It really, really isn't a big deal if some of your life makes its way onto the digital world. Nobody is going to care about it anyway.

Re:David Brin wrote about this years ago (1)

xant (99438) | about 6 years ago | (#25292609)

An other great book on this subject is Clarke's The Light of Other Days. He posits that not only is privacy screwed now, but everything you've ever done in the past is also out in the open, you just don't know it yet. And he suggests that society will adapt just fine.

My position is that the powerful have more to lose from a breakdown of privacy than the "private" citizen has to fear. The loss of privacy is only a problem when the powerful get to keep theirs. As Sarah Palin's email accounts illustrate, that ain't gonna be the case for long. As the ease of copying information approaches zero, the difficulty of securing it approaches infinity. But nobody cares about you and your information, so you just need to keep from popping up in the anti-terrorist list for a few more decades until this works itself out.

Think of it as steganography... try not to stand out as long as there's only a few people in the database; but as they pile in more and more (1 million on the TSA's no-fly list), your individual exposure becomes less. Eventually your public information is just lost in the noise, the way it has always been.

And then it will be time for the powerful to answer for their secrets, and yours won't matter any more.

Transparent Society... (1)

argent (18001) | about 6 years ago | (#25292671)

Welly welly welly, usually I'm the first and only one to mention Brin and The Transparent Society.

I'm not entirely convinced, but since I obviously gave up on keeping myself off the Internet long before it even had that name... I don't buy into the contrary argument either.

You need new friends and family (1)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | about 6 years ago | (#25292227)

One of these days they will get burned.

Just do it (1)

Threni (635302) | about 6 years ago | (#25292235)

Get a gmail/facebook etc account but use false info. Get a new account every few months or so. Don't worry about it - it's not real life.

If ignoring facebook disconnects you from friends. (-1, Troll)

plasmacutter (901737) | about 6 years ago | (#25292245)

I think it does you a favor.

My experience is people who use social networking sites and people with an IQ over 40 are mutually exclusive.

Re:If ignoring facebook disconnects you from frien (2, Insightful)

stranger_to_himself (1132241) | about 6 years ago | (#25292413)

Well there's at least two other people who don't use facebook, the parent post and the moderator who gave it an insightful.

If you want to protect your privacy, then fine, but do it for some actual reason, not just for the rather nebulous abstract concept of 'privacy' in itself, which is actually fairly meaningless if you think about your interactions with the rest of the world. It is necessary that people know stuff about you in order for you to function as a human being, it only becomes an invasion of your privacy when people are taking stuff you don't want them to and spreading it around for others to see.

Re:If ignoring facebook disconnects you from frien (2, Funny)

eln (21727) | about 6 years ago | (#25292469)

Well there's at least two other people who don't use facebook, the parent post and the moderator who gave it an insightful.

You'd think so, but actually the moderator is a regular Facebook user who just didn't know what the word "Insightful" meant.

Re:If ignoring facebook disconnects you from frien (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25292427)

And my experience is the opposite. I guess our anecdotes cancel.

The OP should get over it - Facebook became popular partly because it provides very fine grained privacy controls. I blocked photos of me being visible from my profile some time ago - friends can still tag me but there's no way to find those photos except through brute force search, and you have to be friends with my friends to see those photos.

Also, classifying GMail with Facebook is sort of a red herring, I think. Facebook exists to let you publish personal information. GMail does not. If you keep your email in GMail then chances are excellent you'll be the only one to ever read it. There are a handful of engineers at Google who can read peoples mail and they are busy guys. Having your data read by machines really isn't the same.

Re:If ignoring facebook disconnects you from frien (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25292489)

Back to grandma's basement you!

Ideals (2, Insightful)

Applekid (993327) | about 6 years ago | (#25292257)

Sticking to your ideals isn't always easy. Sticking to them in hard times demonstrates how important it is.

The compomise is to not give in to everyone, just be selective. I'd much rather trust Google with how useful their stuff becomes when you do trust them than I would trust, say, Microsoft who would request your information (that old registration bit) which will use it exclusively for marketing and later BSA audits.

Re:Ideals (1)

Locklin (1074657) | about 6 years ago | (#25292465)

Being selective with the content is probably more important than being selective with the company.

Considering Google seems to be going in the direction of data mining virtually everything, I don't know if I would trust them with data more than Microsoft.

Re:Ideals (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25292507)

Sticking to your ideals isn't always easy. Sticking to them in hard times demonstrates how important it is.

I'm certain Jack Thompson would agree with that wholeheartedly. And we all see where it's gotten him.

So the question is, do you really think it's important enough to be branded an outcast loony and be alone no matter how "right" you "know" you are, or is there compromise to be made?

do it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25292261)

don't be a coward.

Web 2.0 yes, but pseudonymized (1)

bratgitarre (862529) | about 6 years ago | (#25292263)

No way I'm giving up. I suggest using aliases and changing (spam) mail addresses every so often, plus obviously getting a dynamic IP. I'm still using a credit card and say yes to pretty much every cell phone or application EULA, but I think these are less likely to hit me in the long run than publicly available and mineable personal information over which I essentially have no control. Web 2.0 sites are great, as long as I can use them pseudonymously (like Wikipedia, or Slashdot). So no way I'm getting on Facebook and the like.

Re:Web 2.0 yes, but pseudonymized (2, Insightful)

stranger_to_himself (1132241) | about 6 years ago | (#25292461)

I'm still using a credit card and say yes to pretty much every cell phone or application EULA, but I think these are less likely to hit me in the long run than publicly available and mineable personal information over which I essentially have no control.

In what way are they likely to 'hit' you?

Learn about TOR (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25292279)

Join their groups, you'll make new friends that have a similar mindset to yourself.

Re:Learn about TOR (1)

larry bagina (561269) | about 6 years ago | (#25292605)

child molesters?

How is this any different from the real world? (3, Insightful)

i_ate_god (899684) | about 6 years ago | (#25292293)

So, instead of going to a bar to discuss things where I can overhear them, you lay it all out on your facebook profile instead, where I can overread them.

So what? Who cares if your likes or dislikes are posted for all to see?

I LIKE JUNO REACTOR AND SEX

See? Was that so hard? Has my life become worse now that you know this? Facebook isn't going to make your life any less private than when your girlfriend talks to her girlfriends about your impotence. Stop being so paranoid. This isn't a new world of TOTAL INFORMATION AWARENESS.

Re:How is this any different from the real world? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25292485)

I agree. I just don't see the problem with this loss of "privacy". Why is it so important to keep this information out of the public eye? Who cares if some stranger knows you were at a wedding on a certain date? What are you doing that's so embarrassing?

BTW my name is Dave Owen, I always use my real name online and I don't care who sees it. Never had a problem in 15 years online.

Re:How is this any different from the real world? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25292495)

So, instead of going to a bar to discuss things where I can overhear them, you lay it all out on your facebook profile instead, where I can overread them.

Ten minutes later, you won't remember the bar discussion anymore. Ten years later, the database storing the facebook profile information is still around, and all manner of government agencies and/or advertising companies will be happily querying through it.

Re:How is this any different from the real world? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25292623)

HAY I LIKE JUNO REACTOR AND SEX TOO! WE CAN BEEN FRIENDS? LOL

hay look me in pink hair gay sex show. But LOL I tagged you in it! LOLOL.

I don't get it... (5, Insightful)

Otter (3800) | about 6 years ago | (#25292303)

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.

If you're asking whether I personally am impressed by someone bragging about how he refuses to use Facebook or GMail: it impresses me about as much as someone who brags about not having heard of some television show.

Re:I don't get it... (4, Insightful)

Bogtha (906264) | about 6 years ago | (#25292593)

If you're asking whether I personally am impressed by someone bragging about how he refuses to use Facebook or GMail: it impresses me about as much as someone who brags about not having heard of some television show.

In fact, the entire submission reads like a pastiche of Area Man Constantly Mentioning He Doesn't Own A Television [theonion.com] . I understand wanting to protect your privacy, but this guy really does seem to treasure the fact that he is clueless about Facebook etc. Whenever I've ever heard anybody say anything like "their Facebook 'wall' (whatever that is), it's always been with a condescending "I'm too good for crap like that" tone. This guy doesn't want privacy, he wants to feel better than everybody else.

Re:I don't get it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25292663)

"it impresses me about as much as someone who brags about not having heard of some television show."

Well, get ready to be blown away: I do not even have a TV!

It's the people, stupid! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25292307)

I don't have a telly. My dad will NOT use email.

I post stuff to him. I may have done more and more frequently if he'd had email, but this is in some ways better, because I'm not mailing any old shite to him.

I still listen to friends who talk about the telly: it's partly so they can relive the experience and partly, if there's a bit of a story to it, I get it anyway.

It would be the same with Facebook / AIM / GoogleWhanger. You don't turn off when they talk about it, just listen to them tell the story. It's not as if you're required to have been there. If you'd been elsewhere, you'd still have missed it and they would still have told you.

So just let them talk about what amusing thing was on YouTube or whatever. Listen and imagine what it COULD have looked like and see if you enjoy the thought. Or just enjoy them remembering what it was like.

"Being included" doesn't mean you have to join them. Just that you'll enjoy listening.

Run your own forums... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25292311)

Set up your own private web forums that you have privacy control over and get your friends/family to use it. This works like a charm and is basically how I stay in touch with all my friends dispersed all over the place.

Signing up won't solve anything (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25292313)

You will always be "out" of the loop as you will be signed up to the "wrong" website. Yesterday MySpace (RupertSpace), today Facebook, tommorrow ??.

You will be signing up to a life of chasing the next "IN" thing and worrying about your online profile. Forget about it all. Keep your relationships face-to-face with the people in your life and enjoy life.

Stick to your guns (2, Insightful)

hojo52 (1380525) | about 6 years ago | (#25292315)

I for one DO NOT welcome our personal data hoarding/parsing overlords.

Re:Stick to your guns (2, Informative)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | about 6 years ago | (#25292391)

Nobody should feel bad about being left out of online social networking. They WILL miss their privacy if they decide to give it up in exchange for being "in the know" about pointless inside jokes. Besides, there's always the phone or -- *gasp* -- real life! If you are not willing to contact your "friends" by phone or visit then they are not your friends and you should find some real ones.

I don't know about facebook but MySpace has decent privacy options and controls on who sees what of yours. I don't have a facebook page but I do have a MySpace page and everybody has one or the other if not both. My MySpace is set up thusly:

- My profile and my pictures are set so that only my friends may view them
- I don't have any incriminating pictures or words on my page anyway
- I use some of these [slashdot.org] codes to hide my friends list from everybody(including my friends) to prevent gossip. Comments may also be hidden. If you can't figure out how to do that then you shouldn't be here!

Use a browser with privacy options and plugins and set it to not remember anything except cookies and to delete everything everytime it closes. Don't click on the ducks or the monkeys. Don't run e-mail attachments. Use a hardware firewall: iptables works very well. Never use your real information when filling out ANYTHING except for financial or employment purposes.

Reverse (4, Insightful)

Rinisari (521266) | about 6 years ago | (#25292317)

I'm a privacy guy, too, or at least I was until things like Facebook and blogs come around.

Now, instead of trying to keep everything secret, I think it's easier to assume that everything is known. Some things simply have access controls to modify them or see extended information or are otherwise secured by information that assuredly only I know: passphrases (not passwords).

There's also a key element here: I don't do anything illegal and I'm honest with friends and family. One might say, "What happens when you do?" to which I will reply, "Then I guess I'm going to jail like I should." If someone comes to me with beef about something I wrote, then it's up to me to defend my position.

If I want to pass or store information securely, I'll use PGP or other virtually impenetrable encryption with good secret key protection practices, such as keeping them in my head.

"I'm not doing anything illegal" (5, Insightful)

maillemaker (924053) | about 6 years ago | (#25292563)

"There's also a key element here: I don't do anything illegal and I'm honest with friends and family. One might say, "What happens when you do?" to which I will reply, "Then I guess I'm going to jail like I should." If someone comes to me with beef about something I wrote, then it's up to me to defend my position."

There is a problem with this position.

You are making the assumption that nothing will happen in the future to make currently acceptable, moral, lawful behavior illegal.

If the law changes in such a way as to be tyrannical and you have allowed no possibility for revolt without getting caught you have sealed your fate long before the tyranny came to pass.

Err.. (4, Insightful)

TheSpoom (715771) | about 6 years ago | (#25292327)

This is a bit over the top. On Facebook, for example, you can restrict practically any information you put into it. Now, Facebook themselves could technically do what they wanted with it, but if you're worried about the information getting out to the internet as a whole, you just go into your preferences and tell it what to make public, friends-only, completely private, or what-have-you, and they'll restrict it as appropriate. Just because most people don't enable this restriction doesn't mean it's not there.

If you're worried about Facebook selling your information to other entities, etc., take a look at Facebook's privacy policy [facebook.com] , which states pretty clearly what they will and will not do with your information.

I have a feeling, though, that you've already made your decision and just want to hear from others who feel as you do.

secret identity (3, Funny)

OglinTatas (710589) | about 6 years ago | (#25292333)

appropriate to this topic:
cat and girl [catandgirl.com]

Resistance is futile (4, Insightful)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | about 6 years ago | (#25292337)

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.

Maintain privacy, except on Slashdot (4, Insightful)

totallygeek (263191) | about 6 years ago | (#25292341)

So, you don't want anything posted on places like Facebook, showing a list of your friends along with articles you have written, journal entries, ties to items you have posted about, etc. But, you have no problem with the same on Slashdot?

Four friends listed
A page filled with your posts to submitted articles
Three journal entries
Three fans

I know some people on Facebook that maintain some privacy: one never fills in all the fields or puts in erroneous information, one puts her middle name as her last name and posts an avatar instead of a photo.

Choose wisely (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25292343)

"And the smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or for anyone who receives the mark of his name." (Rev 14:11)

Seriously? Get over yourself. (0)

onion2k (203094) | about 6 years ago | (#25292357)

You aren't important enough for Facebook/Google/the government/anyone to bother invading your privacy in any meaningful way. Very few people are. The companies that gather huge amounts of data about us want exactly that - huge amounts of data. That's when it becomes useful (and more importantly, valuable). Stuff about any one individual is next to useless. You can splatter your entire life history all over the internet and on the whole noone will care, or even notice (with the obvious exception of your bank details - they are useful to the more nefarious members of society).

So yeah, carry on being a "private citizen" and withhold all your data. The 'man' will have as much on you as they do on me; and I have a Facebook page, MySpace page, and accounts on dozens of forums. Because we are completely unremarkable. The only difference is that I have accepted it. Nay, embraced it!

Welcome, Slashbot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25292361)

You represent the .00001% of society that holds the views of this beloved blog.

Amateur (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25292363)

I have removed my fingerprints with acid and have had facial reconstruction surgery. I dye my hair. I uninstalled windows and then burned my computer. I cancelled my phone then dug up the phone line on my property. I cancelled all other utilities and dug up the mains on my property. I moved my mailbox and house number to the neighbor's property. I pay the neighbor to act as my mail/home address firewall. I regularly kill my neighbor and take back the money. Inside my exterior house is another tinier house in which I live. Inside that house is another even smaller house in which I actually live. I also never agree to EULAs.

use gmail for select few (1)

hansoloaf (668609) | about 6 years ago | (#25292365)

and http://www.mailinator.com/ [mailinator.com] for everything else.

Give a hoot - do pollute! (1)

DavidHumus (725117) | about 6 years ago | (#25292367)

I think a Slashdot item "Anti-Terrorist Data Mining Doesn't Work Very Well" just a little prior to yours gives a clue how to accomplish both privacy and availability: pollute the noosphere with bad information about yourself and "fraternal twins".

For instance, something I've done for years is to subscribe to magazines, etc. with slightly different versions of my own name. As others have also done, I started by using a different middle initial for different subscriptions. As the namespace became more crowded, I branched out to using dual middle initials and variant spellings of my name and address.

Similarly, sign up for different online services with variants of your name, birthdays off by days or years, etc.

If enough of us do this for long enough, the waters will be hopelessly muddied.

Still anonymous online here... (1)

g0bshiTe (596213) | about 6 years ago | (#25292371)

You can still be relatively anonymous online. I say relative because, well it is relative.

Websites I sign up for require usernames, real names etc. I usually hit these with a moniker of some sort that has nothing to do with my true identity.

What's that you say? They require an email address that can be traced to me? Well no they don't. I have a hotmail address that I registered back in 1995 that I still use. Ah the days of Snap being my search engine of choice, I digress. That hotmail account was registered with a valid email account at the time linking me to my true identity, but I have since stopped that account and I'm sure that no ISP retains user data 10+ years. Can I still be traced? I'm sure some hardcore digging could turn up my identity, but as for my MySpace and Facebook, if I don't already know you then you aren't on my friends list. You don't post me messages, I don't circulate those cutesy little, When was your first kiss, questionaires they get deleted. I don't even read them. I don't browse many profiles of people I don't know. So I think in all, I'm relatively unknown as far as online identity presence.

Fake info (1)

Xaemyl (88001) | about 6 years ago | (#25292373)

So, just make up fake information to feed into these sites. That way, you stay connected to those you want to stay connected to, and whatever private information they have is fake. Same concept with spam-dump emails ...

Some of us are too old/uncool... (0)

Zordak (123132) | about 6 years ago | (#25292379)

... to have "friends" on Facebook, you insensitive clod.

I've been trying to take the privacy back... (1)

Yaddoshi (997885) | about 6 years ago | (#25292381)

For starters - ever since college, while on the Internet I've operated under an alias. As Beef Curtains pointed out, however, it is still possible that people will figure out who you are (and I'm still suffering due to backlash from my wife's side of the family after some foolish venting on my blog).

There came a point where I was sick of depending on "free" services such as Yahoo! and Google, and as a result I established my own Drupal web and Squirrel e-mail server (and I'm getting ready to embed chat into my main website to take care of that little nuisance). So...I've somewhat weened myself off the system.

That being said, I still have accounts on LiveJournal and MySpace (though I am resisting Facebook), I have a Gmail, a Yahoo! Mail and a Hotmail account - and all of this was set up so that I could keep in touch with friends via IM and also as a way to divert spam from my real e-mail account. I've been trying to ween myself off of these "free" services while simultaneously inviting my friends and family to come on board my own equivalent packages with some success, but not as much as I had hoped.

Wish I had a better answer for you, but I'm still trying to figure it out for myself. One of these days I'll probably snap and delete every account on services that I don't own.

Make sure you use an alias tho, that does make a big difference.

Participate! (2, Interesting)

sneakyimp (1161443) | about 6 years ago | (#25292395)

I share a lot of your concerns but I think you might be going so far as to be antisocial. If you have nothing to hide, there's no reason to be hidden. Don't be afraid to participate in society.

On the other hand, I do worry about Orwellian tendencies among government and business. E.g., If I buy cigarettes for my friend using my bank card, will my health care be canceled?

I have found a hosts file (http://www.mvps.org/winhelp2002/hosts.htm) to be very useful in protecting myself from malware and nosey ad tracking stuff.

I have signed up on facebook.com. It's nice to hear from old friends. I don't spend any time there though. I have never once been to twitter.

Re:Participate! (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25292673)

If you have nothing to hide, there's no reason to be hidden. Don't be afraid to participate in society.

I'm a homosexual atheist living here in Atlanta (The deep God fear'n Republican stronghold evangelical south - for those of you reading from other countries.). I vote Democratic.

I would like to have a Slashdot account but I really like Microsoft's products and I really dislike Linux, GNU, and anything F/OSS for various reasons.

So, you're saying that if I identify myself, I would be alright and nothing bad would happen to me? I won't be flamed and modded down into negative territory if I opened an account here on Slashdot? Meaning, after expressing my views I wouldn't be an outcast forever posting at "-1" ?

Just making a point here.

Its about control (1)

JustNiz (692889) | about 6 years ago | (#25292399)

Its OK to be a member of such things as Facebook as you can directly control/limit what you make available just by not putting it up ther ein the first place.
But would not ever have my personal documents stored on some remote server for example. This is one reason why I for one will never be a customer for this whole "software as a service" model Microsoft et al are chasing.

You have no privacy. Get used to it. (1)

jjohnson (62583) | about 6 years ago | (#25292405)

You say you preserved your privacy by eschewing the variety of hosted/social networking sites that your friends and family use. Have you also eschewed credit cards? Driver's license? All airline travel? Property ownership?

What you identify as the frontier of privacy is just the most visible loss of your privacy, the publicizing of yourself. You already exist in hundreds of government and corporate databases, both your vitals and your histories, in ways that are badly protected. Your only safety is that you're part of a gigantic herd that exists there with you, making your odds of being singled out lower.

This is what Larry Ellison meant when he said "You have no privacy. Get over it." Staying off gmail and facebook and LinkedIn is a hair shirt exercise in futility. That doesn't mean you have no privacy, but that what privacy you have is the privacy of politeness--what you and others choose to discuss (or avoid discussing) in public.

Not Black or White. (2, Insightful)

JustinOpinion (1246824) | about 6 years ago | (#25292423)

The question is phrased in a sort of black/white manner: either you fight tooth-and-nail to maintain maximum privacy, or you give up and sign up for every crazy privacy-eroding service.

The obvious answer is "all things in moderation." I consider myself privacy-conscious. I don't run Windows. I do use Facebook and Gmail. However I use them with privacy in mind. So my Facebook profile has very little information, has privacy options set quite high, and I only accept friend invites from people that I reasonably trust. (So many people seem to get sucked into the "I need my friend count to be higher" game--which invariable means accepting invites from strangers.)

My strategy works, more or less. There are times when friends reveal information about me online I would rather they didn't (e.g. tagging me in photos on Facebook). But you can't completely prevent these kinds of things. In the same way that friends can give out your phone number or gossip about you in real-life, there will be some privacy loss online. The goal should be to keep things private without it becoming a burden to do so.

It sounds like you're taking the privacy thing to far--to the point that it's harder for you to socialize and enjoy life. So loosen your rules a little bit. Remember that every company (the power company, the cable company, your bank, etc.) has tons of privacy-eroding data on you. Online companies will also get some privacy-eroding data. But as long as you keep it within reasonable bounds, then it won't cause a problem.

Remember, privacy isn't really something that has to be maintained for its own sake. Privacy is a means for you to enjoy your life free from bother, and to prevent people harming/taking advantage of you. Calibrate accordingly.

A small loss of privacy is okay if it achieves the greater objective of making you happy.

Stop being contrary. (1)

Natty (51284) | about 6 years ago | (#25292425)

While it can be cute to "eschew" everything mainstream, really, you're just being contrary. Facebook is cool. It keeps your friends in the know about you and you in the know about your friends. Yeah, you give up "privacy", but any sort of sincere interaction with another person is going to entail that. Whether you're on the cell phone, typing out an email, or shooting the shit in person, you've got to reveal some of yourself. The perfectly private human being is an opaque and lonely one.

What's Windows got to do with it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25292431)

I don't really see what Windows has to do with losing privacy, it's perfectly possible to maintain privacy on a Windows based system. For all the stories about how insecure Windows is it's not some privacy risk unless you allow it to be one. No amount of Windows flaws will force you to enter your most personal details, and there's no reason your system need be rootable if you use common sense and don't run things you shouldn't, this may or may not include things such as Javascripts depending on your browser and the sites you visit.

When bringing anti-Windows propaganda into it it sounds more like what this person cares about is actually fighting the system, rather than simply privacy and so I think the answer to the question needs to be a question in itself - what are you really trying to achieve? If you want to be different and fight the norm then carry on, you're doing fine as is. If however it's simply privacy you care about then some issues you raise aren't related to privacy so folding on them wont cause you any loss of privacy but will allow you to join in those more mainstream activities you talk about.

I work on the simple principle that if I've entered personal information onto the internet, I can't realistically trust that it's limited to that particular site and must assume that it's in the hands of anybody. I have made the concious decision that I am happy for my name and address to be on the internet, and whilst I don't want it posted left right and centre I do at least accept that if someone wanted it they could likely now get it easy enough. I even accept that having purchased things online my credit card could be available left right and centre too, however I ensure that I am covered should this ever be an issue. Similarly I accept my e-mail address is probably fairly widely distributed, well, one of them because I have a public and a private one, the public one I will use with forums and will never make the assumption it's unknown to anyone, I assume anyone might have it. My private one however I keep limited to a small trusted set of people, I accept that this could leak but I feel it is more unlikely to.

The real question is how much privacy you're trying to maintain, it's possible to enjoy many features of the modern technological world without instantly becoming a victim of identity theft or by giving away your lifes intimate details to any number of secret services around the world. Privacy doesn't have to be a none or all game.

What about Windows? (4, Insightful)

Wee (17189) | about 6 years ago | (#25292439)

I fail to see what Windows has to do with your mini-rant. As a long-time Linux user, I'll shake my tiny fist along with you and tilt at all the windmills I come across, but how have you given up your privacy by using a certain operating system?

-B

Anonymous Coward (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25292477)

I personally will never give up the fight. When people begin conversations about something on their 'wall' or 'myspace', I question them on their need to be connected to everyone and everything at all times. Usually I get a 'Dude, everyone's doing it'.

Everyone lies too, don't make it right. My parents raised me to not be part of the crowd. To think above the common accepted norm.

All my friends that have face books or their spaces know I don't want pictures of me posted. They respect my wishes, that's just common courtesy. --Well for people with IQ's over 40 anyway.

Lastly, HANG UP THE FUCKIN PHONE AND DRIVE!!..

Let me get this straight (5, Funny)

blitzkrieg3 (995849) | about 6 years ago | (#25292487)

You won't give close friends the ability to post on your wall, yet you have no problem letting the whole world know that you were listening to elvis [www.last.fm] 2 hours ago?

It can go two ways (2, Interesting)

MLCT (1148749) | about 6 years ago | (#25292493)

All of this can go two ways.

In ten years time either all of the "facebook" stuff will be seen as a fad, and joked about as a fad - forgotten and irrelevant. Or it will still be "big" and they will know and capitalise on every single aspect of every single person's private data.

Personally I suspect it will be the former scenario - the "2.0", "social-networking" stuff is just a buzz - a hyper money fuelled fad. The whole thing is an attempt to generate a self-fulfilling prophecy. Facebook worth fifteen billion dollars? Give me a break. The entire bubble has been fuelled on speculative hot air - "if I say it is valuable and the next big thing, then it is". As the stock market has so ably proven over the last few weeks - fads and self-fulfilling prophecies never last.

There was an analogy that was doing the rounds on the "privacy-less age" that we are supposed to be living in. It drew comparisons between the nineteenth century reluctance people had to put money into banks and today's reluctance to protect your private details. We now deposit most of our assets with banks and think nothing of it, the analogy being that in the future the same will be with our private information. Of course like most analogies it is fundamentally flawed to compare the two things - but I couldn't help but smile when, over the last month, I see people questioning to withdraw their money from banks that are on their knees.

Hiding isn't such a good idea (2, Insightful)

PPH (736903) | about 6 years ago | (#25292497)

If someone wants to find you, or find out about you, they'll keep looking until they've found you. Or until they think they have.

Get a GMail account, a Facebook page and otherwise conduct yourself as the typical clueless user with a wife, 2.1 kids, a dog and a house with a white picket fence. When 'they' go looking for you, that's what they'll find. Then , they'll go away.

Conduct your clandestine activity anonymously, or using some manufactured identities. Leave your cell phone at home and don't drive your own car (or at least switch plates). Bury bodies in someone else's back yard.

Privacy is Lost, Focus on Responsibility (1)

steve_thatguy (690298) | about 6 years ago | (#25292515)

I came to the conclusion within the last year that privacy is a product of a bygone era. The fact is technology has made it too easy to erode privacy, corporations have made it too profitable, and governments have made it too desired. I read an article that within five years we'll be able to carry enough storage on our person to record every waking second of our lives for a year. It's only a matter of time before people no longer have to blog, they'll just have to live and technology will allow us to record it all as it happens.

Privacy as a concept will not exist for our children's children, if not for our children directly. They'll know the word and the meaning but they won't understand at a deeper level what it is like to go outside and not have to wonder whether or not they're being watched.

The most concerning part of this for myself is and has always been the potential for abuse this has by governments and law enforcement. However now that I've accepted there's no avoiding our future as a surveillance society I've realized the solution. We must make sure that the surviellance and lack of privacy is extended and in fact *led* by government and law enforcement. If governments and law enforcement would be willing to sacrifice their own privacy first it would help (albeit mildly) make the sacrifice of privacy by citizens a little easier to swallow. Also it introduces accountability to the people which is essential. Hopefully the experience of their own loss of privacy will temper their judgment with how to use their ability to invade the privacy of others.

I only hope that within the next ten years we see a strong movement toward transparency and accountability in public officials and public servants. It's the only way to avoid 1984.

Linux is not secure either. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25292527)

Remember the Debian SSH key scandal.

Re:Linux is not secure either. (1)

gujo-odori (473191) | about 6 years ago | (#25292617)

I realize this is feeding a troll, but first of all, it was not a scandal; it was security vulnerability. A scandal is when a vendor is aware of a vulnerability and, while failing to fix it and release a patch, seeks instead to just conceal the information from the public and customers alike for as long as possible.

Debian, like most FOSS vendors, fixed the problem, with full disclosure, very quickly. The scandals typically affect proprietary vendors, and you'd have to look long and hard to find one without some of those skeletons in its closet.

Is Linux secure? Sure. Very secure, generally. Absolutely secure? No. No computer is, not even in its original shipping material and powered off with no OS installed. Even then, the machine could be stolen. But on the security continuum, Linux is more secure than Windows or OS X.

Don't add any personal info (1)

ensignyu (417022) | about 6 years ago | (#25292529)

Just give them as little information as possible. I think only your name and email address are required, and any personal info fields you fill out (which are pretty much all optional) can be restricted so they're only visible to your friends.

The wall is a little annoying privacy-wise because anyone you give access to your wall can see what everyone else has posted on your wall. You could still disable your wall and rely on private messaging though.

Essentially, if you keep an empty or locked-down profile, it's like having an entry in the phone book, except you don't have to give out your phone number. Of course, Facebook encourages totally random people you haven't seen in decades to try to "friend" you, so I guess if you'd rather not have any contact at all you might want to stay off Facebook. But otherwise it's not too bad.

I have several identities. (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | about 6 years ago | (#25292541)

I can manage my privacy at the press of a button. Wipe my cookies and become another identity. I can define my privacy as I like.

 

Re:I have several identities. (1)

argent (18001) | about 6 years ago | (#25292597)

Mister... Smith. It seems you are living ... two lives...

Only one of these... has a future...

what a drama queen (5, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 6 years ago | (#25292545)

i consider privacy to include my password to my bank account, what my girlfirend looks like naked, and the details of how i lost my virginity, and a few other things

i don't really consider anything that goes on in gmail, in windows, or on facebook to equate to my privacy. who does? this information is mined in order to display ads in a side panel on my pc? ok. and your point?

if you consider that sort of pointless uninteresting minutae of your life to be in the realm of your "privacy" then i and many other people think you are being rather precious and overly dramatic about your life. its really just not that interesting, or worth protecting. most of us have some ability to gauge exactly how absolutely interesting segments of our daily lives and our social circle is, egomaniacs amongst us notwithstanding, and we find it to be rather common and not valuable. precious in total, to ourselves, because it is our lives, but not inherently precious as some sort of vital aspect of humanity. and we know this. and there is no cognitive dissonance about this observation. only within our own personal perspective does this minutiae have value, and in no other persecptive is it even possible to have value. so there is no need to protect anything

take for example a series of snapshots of a trip to disney world. to the person in those snapshots, they are probably more valuable than the mona lisa. but to most everyone else, they are utterly uninteresting. but, and here's the important part: the person in those snapshots KNOWS they are valuable only to him, such that exposure of those pictures to random people he will never know has no context to his life. it cannot hurt him, their reaction. even if he knew someone was looking at his private pictures and was laughing at them: so what? how can that hurt you? how can it wound you? its completely without relevancy to who and what is important to you, so laugh away. the context in which they laugh has no leverage over your personal life, becuase the judgments being made against you are being made within frameworks that have no impact on how you live your life or how you judge your life, or anyone important to you judges your life

this level of security about one's personal life is not bizarre, its normal. i am aware there are probably brittle insecure people out there who instead would be hurt and wounded by this scenario. and? its not like their reaction is valid. its only their distorted sense of what they attach their ego to that gives them pain. yes, they are in pain, but according to any coherent sense of morality, no valid reason can be formulated that justifies their pain. their reaction has no valid real context to their lives, despite their false impression that it does. their own misplaced sense of perspective is the source of their pain, not anything that anyone has impositioned them with an abridgement of their "privacy"

and this is not even something new to the world of the internet. all of us, thorughout all time periods and cultures, have been exposed to judgments about our personal lives by "outsiders". if i go to japan, and i laugh at what japanese people eat, does that hurt the japanese people's feelings? will it change what they eat? is my laughter valid to them in some way? doe sit have any context in their lives? what if a child laughed at my hairdo? or, if i am a teenager, what if an adult tut tutted at my clothing. has my personal space been judged or hurt in any context that is valid and you would take into consideration in changing your personal life?

its not that people are radically unconcerned about their privacy. its that some people consider things to be "private" and worthy of radical defense that most of us view as completely pointless effluvia. go ahead, make fun of it, expose it to the world. its me, its my personality. and?

Re:what a drama queen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25292655)

"If I don't care about it, it can't possibly be important!"

Yes, that IS what you are saying. And you ARE a moron for saying it.

Better one than none (1)

meist3r (1061628) | about 6 years ago | (#25292553)

Don't stop, if no one is doing it ... no one is doing it. We already have enough passive labrat people out there that do everything they're told. Take pride in standing out like I do. It's what I believe is the only right way.

Privacy is a sliding scale. Make a choice. (1)

SecurityGuy (217807) | about 6 years ago | (#25292567)

It's not all or nothing. Live in a cave or put your entire life on facebook. You can keep some of your life private, and still connect with friends and coworkers in social media.

It's all about a little discretion. Just step back 100 years and this conversation is about talking. Do you blurt out everything about yourself to everyone, or take a vow of silence?

They're both a bad answer. Talk some. Set reasonable limits, but don't be a digital hermit. There are going to be bumps, like some of my friends who post their religious and political affiliations may learn, but opening up a little and admitting we disagree about things, but can rationally disagree and still find value in each other is a really good thing. Today, your future boss may look you up and not hire you because you're a rabid McCain or Obama supporter. Hopefully someday soon, they'll just see that your friends think you're a good programmer and not really care about your politics, because hey, everybody has some opinion about politics and it's a plus that you care at all.

Can they track us all... (1)

colinbg (757240) | about 6 years ago | (#25292573)

I too wish to control my personal details, but I come to think(which I might be wrong about this) that they cant track us all, all of the time. By they I mean anyone wishing to do a large group of people in. I think its a numbers game anymore, if someone or entity wants to find out about you they can, just how difficult it is is another thing ;)

Is it worth it? (4, Interesting)

jibjibjib (889679) | about 6 years ago | (#25292575)

Obviously, taken to the extreme, privacy means not communicating with anyone.

At some point, you have to find the balance between protecting your personal information and actually being able to interact with other people.

Consider the chance that your life will be somehow ruined by some comment you post on Facebook. It's very low, I think. Now consider how bad you're making life for yourself by refusing to communicate in order to avoid this risk. Is it really worth it?

I, for one, think the benefit I gain from Web 2.0 sites is generally worth the risk.

Lost in the crowd (4, Interesting)

harl (84412) | about 6 years ago | (#25292611)

Short Version: No one is going to pay attention to you unless to invite that attention.

Computers are stupid. The volume of data you're worried about is mind boggling huge. Your google search history is tucked in there with billions on billions of other web requests. If you don't keep cookies between sessions then your thousands of individual search histories are tucked in there with billions of other web requests. This is far too complex for a computer to solve. Someone would have to specifically focus on you to assemble anything useful.

This is the case with just about everything. The volume of data is so large that unless you're doing something to stand out the fact that they have some of your information is meaningless.

If you're doing something to stand out then people will focus on you. That's when things get dicey. Until then you just get lost in the crowd.

Here's what you should ask yourself. Why the fuck would anyone bother with you? I'm not being mean. Seriously who would give a fuck about your web history? Most privacy concerns are simply ego. You're really not as important as you think you are.

You also fail to mention a lot of things. Do you have cable? Do you have your own internet? Do you only use cash? Do you drive on toll roads? The fact that you focus online and not on some of the worse real world things makes worry about you.

If you don't pay for literally _everything_ in cash you're giving away infinitely more intimate information than you'll ever find on facebook.

Do you have a cable box? If so you're entire viewing history ever may be available.

Your entire web history goes through your ISPs servers. Trivial to log. Are you using an encrypted pipe to a proxy? Do you control that proxy? Physically?

if you drive on toll roads there may be a record of all your travels. If you use a transponder to auto pay tolls then there must be.

Decide what's private (1)

Todd Knarr (15451) | about 6 years ago | (#25292613)

Decide what you consider "private". I'm not worried about things like my name, address and phone number appearing on FaceBook. I'm in the phone book, anybody who can read and has any interest can find them trivially. Given that, merely having a FaceBook account isn't a privacy problem. What's problematic is the tracking the various FaceBook gadgets can do even when you're not on FaceBook. Some configuration of my browser eliminates that problem (as long as I remember to keep FaceBook in it's own browser session so it can't see anything from my non-FaceBook browsing). Detailed information on my social life? I simply don't post that on FaceBook. I've other places to put that kind of stuff, places that give me more control over who sees it. Photos? That's a decades-old problem, and I deal with it on FaceBook with the same rule I've used since college: if it's something I wouldn't want widely published, I make sure either I get control of all prints and the negatives or I don't allow the photo to include me.

And finally, I keep track of what my friends are doing. If they're in the habit of making things about me public that I've asked them not to, I reconsider just how good of a friend they are. I'm a grown adult, I'm fully capable of making friends with people with a modicum of discretion.

Orkut (1)

Andr T. (1006215) | about 6 years ago | (#25292619)

Well, I don't know about Facebook, but Orkut was never any good to my social life. In fact, I had it deleted after a few fights with my wife.

I'm just not that interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25292631)

There isn't anything about me I care to broadcast to the world so I don't need a profile on anything or a blog.

The important people in my life I have in my cell phone directory. Anyone who I would want to contact me has my number, anyone who doesn't already isn't that important.

I have gmail and I use it for everything as well as my friends and it is even under my real name. But I use SneakEmail and mailinator for and the sadly crippled bugmenot for websites that require an email confirmation to get in the door.

I finally got my dad to stop forwarding the latest funny thing he found. If only I could keep my idiot friends from using my email on evite or web cards or whatever spam harvester is the flavor of the month....

Decide what is important to you, and if you are "left out" because you don't join the latest fad then chances are you were never "in" to begin with.

Have you considered that you are drawing attention (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | about 6 years ago | (#25292643)

By being so different from the masses?

Use Gmail. (1)

Ortega-Starfire (930563) | about 6 years ago | (#25292645)

Advise everyone that wants to email you to use encryption. Fortunately, Thawte (Or xca/openssl for the cheap/lazy bastards) and gmail s/mime plugins for firefox actually make this relatively simple. If I get really bored I'll publish a flash video on this to make it easier for everyone, right now I just go to the homes of my friends and hijack their computers for 5 minutes to set this up.

Options (1)

SlashDev (627697) | about 6 years ago | (#25292647)

Your options is to join other inline communities, according to you, Facebook seems to be for Windows users. Why not invite your friends and family to join Linux-friendly communities using IE, Firefox and others? Taking a step towards Linux means that you were in some ways a leader, continue your crusade, There are millions of Linux users subscribed to communities.

Garbage in, garbage out. (2, Insightful)

CrAlt (3208) | about 6 years ago | (#25292651)

I have a facebook. Its just a nickname with a false real name. Very generic and no photo's. It keeps me in the loop with people who insist on using if for everything. It always blows my mind some stuff that gets posted. Both Images and information. People who post real names with real photo's are just ASKING to be burnt. Does your boss really need to know you went out and got drunk and stoned last weekend? Does everyone in your office need to know who you are screwing this week?

My email is with my ISP. You can still email(for now) gmail users.

Any other type of online service i need to use I just put bullshit information in.
Who cares who sees that garbage.
 

Basically, We're Doomed (5, Funny)

mkcmkc (197982) | about 6 years ago | (#25292667)

I decided quite a while ago that resistance was futile. Most details don't really matter, but it might be prudent to think about what would happen if you ever wanted to run for office or if the political winds shifted further to the right.

As for me, though, this is not a problem, because I love my country and especially that wonderful President of ours. God has truly blessed us to give us such intelligent, caring, and well-groomed leaders. My goal in life is to someday meet one of them so that I can adore him in person.

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