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A Contrarian Stance On Facebook and Privacy

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the baby-steps dept.

Facebook 160

macslocum writes "Amid the uproar over Facebook's privacy maneuvers, Tim O'Reilly offers a contrarian view. He writes: 'The essence of my argument is that there's enormous advantage for users in giving up some privacy online and that we need to be exploring the boundary conditions — asking ourselves when is it good for users, and when is it bad, to reveal their personal information. I'd rather have entrepreneurs making high-profile mistakes about those boundaries, and then correcting them, than silently avoiding controversy while quietly taking advantage of public ignorance of the subject, or avoiding a potentially contentious area of innovation because they are afraid of backlash. It's easy to say that this should always be the user's choice, but entrepreneurs from Steve Jobs to Mark Zuckerberg are in the business of discovering things that users don't already know that they will want, and sometimes we only find the right balance by pushing too far, and then recovering.'" Facebook has confirmed it is working on more changes to its privacy policy in response to feedback from users.

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160 comments

In other words (3, Insightful)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 3 years ago | (#32304932)

In other words, the end users should be the guinea pigs in a social experiment? I don't think so...

Re:In other words (5, Insightful)

XnR'rn (793753) | more than 3 years ago | (#32304958)

In my experience end users always end up as guinea pigs in real world testing, one way or ther other...

While it is bad, it is mostly inevitable.

Re:In other words (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 3 years ago | (#32306022)

After Mark Zuckerberg's latest words on users being dumb fucks for trusting him, I've made my decision to steer clear forever from Facebook...and anything else he gets his grubby paws on.

Re:In other words (-1, Offtopic)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#32304982)

In other words, the end users should be the guinea pigs in a social experiment? I don't think so...

Democracy has often been described as a "great experiment". Throughout history it has never been tried on as broad a scale as this one. For all our faults and disenfranchisements, at least you don't have to be a white male land owner to get access to the polls, as you did in Athens. But arguably, life is a social experiment that there's no getting out of alive. Since people and sites are always changing, everything is always experimental.

Re:In other words (4, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 3 years ago | (#32306336)

Democracy has often been described as a "great experiment". Throughout history it has never been tried on as broad a scale as this one.

It still hasn't been tried, and there's a reason for that. In spite of much Presidential rhetoric about "this great Democracy of ours", and general ignorance of the subject by many people, the U.S. is not now, and has never been, a democracy. That's because our Founders were some pretty smart cookies who understood very clearly that true democracy cannot be trusted to work on any significant scale. And why is that? Because they also knew that We the People could not be trusted to cast our votes in a way that was good for all of us, and that democracy often tends to devolve into mob rule. Even so, much of their planning revolved around how to give voters the tools to grasp the bigger picture: our educational system for one, freedom of the press for another. All that was intended to produce educated, well-informed voters who would cast their votes wisely. That worked reasonably well for a long time, but the cracks are showing

Unfortunately for any form of self-government, people usually vote what they think is best for themselves, and the design of our representative republic tried to take that into account. The fundamental problem with such a system is that (sooner or later) those duly-elected representatives start voting only what is best for them, and warp the political system to the point where our influence over their decision-making is minimized. That's the state of affairs in our great "democracy" today. Who will watch the watchers indeed, and when you consider the amount of damage almost three hundred million of us have suffered at the hands of those 434 people in D.C., well, it's tragic, really, it is. But it was we who let them corrupt our educational system, it was we who have accepted an unprecedented (for us) level of media control.

So far as Facebook et. al. go, it's one thing to try something new, to experiment, push the envelope ... but when you know up front that what you're doing is going to damage some number of your own customers, you really should take a step back. Facebook can't get out of this by claiming they didn't know what they were doing, that it was just an experiment. They've demonstrated that they don't give a damn about their users, and that means those users should also take a step back, decide if what Facebook has to offer is really worth it. That's good advice regarding online services in general, when you get right down to it.

Re:In other words (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32304986)

Like almost everything in life, you don't really know if/how something will work until you actually do it.

Until we have a 100% accurate universe simulator that's just the way it is (ie. that's the way it will always be).

Re:In other words (2, Insightful)

skids (119237) | more than 3 years ago | (#32305800)

Yeah but that's like saying: Oops I'm sorry I didn't know you wouldn't appreciate me eating your lunch from the office fridge. Oh well, I guess now I've tested that premise.

If you can excuse any behavior in the name of "real world testing" maybe I should experiment with embezzlement or something.

Re:In other words (4, Insightful)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 3 years ago | (#32305146)

It's easy to say that this should always be the user's choice

It should always be the user's choice.

Re:In other words (1)

JimNTonik (1097185) | more than 3 years ago | (#32306034)

So I guess this week we don't think that information wants to be free? In the words of RMS

I believe that all generally useful information should be free. By 'free' I am not referring to price, but rather to the freedom to copy the information and to adapt it to one's own uses... When information is generally useful, redistributing it makes humanity wealthier no matter who is distributing and no matter who is receiving.

Re:In other words (1)

fishexe (168879) | more than 3 years ago | (#32306316)

It's easy to say that this should always be the user's choice

It should always be the user's choice.

This shoud always be the user's choice.

Anonymity comes from Aliases (1)

linzeal (197905) | more than 3 years ago | (#32305168)

The day they started requiring real names was the day I left. No fucking way I am trusting FB with that when I won't even trust Slashdot with that. I have never used my real name even once online on any form, website or registration; well except for financial transactions but the point is I'm not going to change.

Facebook is a placeholder for whatever allows people to do what its doing as anonymously as they wish and will be here shortly, its already about as loathed as MySpace was when it started losing 5% market share a month.

Re:Anonymity comes from Aliases (2, Interesting)

Raven42rac (448205) | more than 3 years ago | (#32305224)

I think the main problem is all the third-party crap they allow to interface with your data, that they have no control over. Would you pay for it rather than have your personal data sold/be bombarded by ads? This was supposed to be the "micropayment revolution" that was all the rage 5 years ago.

Re:Anonymity comes from Aliases (1)

linzeal (197905) | more than 3 years ago | (#32305308)

Must be a generational thing, I have never made a micropayment and pry never will.

Re:Anonymity comes from Aliases (1)

GIL_Dude (850471) | more than 3 years ago | (#32305418)

I think I would be willing to pay for it to ensure privacy (some small amount). However, the problem there is that nobody on my (rather small) "friends" list would be willing to. So if it was "pay or nothing" they would all leave and then I would too soon after as it gets old talking to yourself. Now, maybe if they have levels:

1) Free, but we sell your info - be careful what you share.
2) Small yearly fee, we may target you with ads but won't share anything with anyone unless you manually set it to allow sharing.
3) Some other option that I missed.

Re:Anonymity comes from Aliases (2, Insightful)

SupremoMan (912191) | more than 3 years ago | (#32306476)

If people were willing to pay to use facebook what would happen is they would pay and get bombarded with ads anyway a la cable tv.

BS false dichotomy argument (excluded middle) (2, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 3 years ago | (#32305222)

[X] I like my rights to control my own data, you insensitive clod!

I'd rather have entrepreneurs making high-profile mistakes about those boundaries, and then correcting them, than silently avoiding controversy while quietly taking advantage of public ignorance of the subject

Yep, that's one of the bullshit argument types - it's not a question of one extreme or the other. Hopefully, people are smart enough now to name it and shame it when someone tries this crap.

It's about:

  1. using common sense (not too common these days)
  2. staying within the law ("ignorance of the law is no excuse")
  3. .. not "making mistakes to see what works".

Re:BS false dichotomy argument (excluded middle) (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#32305488)

That's the thing, while I don't personally use Facebook, I'm puzzled as to what exactly justifies them putting these sorts of large changes in place without at least defaulting to private. A lot of the changes they've made wouldn't be a big deal if the default was to not share the information beyond what the previous policy had allowed. If people want to opt-in, that's their business, but opting other people in is just dickery.

Re:BS false dichotomy argument (excluded middle) (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 3 years ago | (#32305568)

It's because of the money. Always follow the money. If you can make it "opt-out" instead of "opt-in", most people will stay opted in. They either won't notice, or won't realize the implications. And facebook can then try to monetize the sale of this information to 3rd parties like Zango.

It's the same with "negative billing" - those "unless you cancel, we're adding 'X' to your current plan and billing you $Y more per month".

Good thing most cars (except Toyota) don't have a "While driving, by default we will accelerate at full speed unless you opt out within the next 2 seconds."

Not So Much With The Internet (4, Insightful)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#32304950)

It's easy to say that this should always be the user's choice, but entrepreneurs from Steve Jobs to Mark Zuckerberg are in the business of discovering things that users don't already know that they will want, and sometimes we only find the right balance by pushing too far, and then recovering.

That's an OK philosophy for developing a product, but when it comes to personal data and privacy, once it's "out there on the internet" (either publicly or for sale by companies who sell to the internet), there's no getting the genie back in the bottle.

There is no recovering when it comes to personal data on the internet.

Re:Not So Much With The Internet (5, Insightful)

mickwd (196449) | more than 3 years ago | (#32305056)

That philosophy of his sounds exactly like bullying to me.

"Sometimes we only find the right balance by taking what we can get, and then backing off when a victim fights back".

Rapidly losing respect for this man. Shame - the books are (for the most part) great.

Re:Not So Much With The Internet (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 3 years ago | (#32306402)

That philosophy of his sounds exactly like bullying to me.

"Sometimes we only find the right balance by taking what we can get, and then backing off when a victim fights back".

Rapidly losing respect for this man. Shame - the books are (for the most part) great.

Some things may be good for society as a whole, yet very, very bad for certain members of that society. It's important to make that distinction, and I think he failed to do that. In an overall cultural context, yes, it's important to try new things and see if they work ... but we already know the damage that can be caused to individuals by loss of privacy. There's no goddamn experiment to required to figure out that people can be hurt when organizations who collect private information fail to protect it. Period.

And for all you "information wants to be free" idiots out there, realize that when confidential information is released, usually somebody gets hurt. Now, we may find that acceptable if it's information about a corporation or government organization that is committing illegal acts, but this isn't the same thing. These are individuals who (foolishly, as it turns out) trusted a corporation to keep their secrets: there's no overriding social concern that can be used to justify the release of information that can cause someone to get ripped off, suffer identity theft, or worse. There just isn't.

Re:Not So Much With The Internet (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 3 years ago | (#32305128)

That's an OK philosophy for developing a product, but when it comes to personal data and privacy, once it's "out there on the internet" (either publicly or for sale by companies who sell to the internet), there's no getting the genie back in the bottle.

The users ARE the product. They are selling us to other companies. Sites like Facebook are essentially pimping its users out to advertisers, companies, and marketers. When things like this are happening, the users have every right to control their information, to have a choice.

Pictures of his penis on the Internet? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32305140)

What you're saying is absolutely true. THERE IS NO TURNING BACK.

Would he like it if, say, pictures of his penis were posted all over the Internet, but worse, linked to his name, pictures of his face, and other identifying information like that? My guess is that he probably wouldn't like it, just like many other people wouldn't like it.

I had a co-worker who accidentally uploaded to Facebook a picture of him fucking his girlfriend up the ass. You may think that's cool, except he's 47, he's fat, and as it turns out, he has a micropenis. His girlfriend was probably 60, and had shit and urine all over her back. It wasn't a very pretty picture. But he accidentally uploaded it, and didn't check his Facebook for about a month. Meanwhile, everyone who knows him has seen this picture, and we're very disgusted by it. Some people just stopped talking to him, and others openly mocked his micropenis. Eventually he did realize his mistake, but it was too late then. His life was changed.

There's only one stance we can take when it comes to privacy, and that is that we need to maximize it for everyone. Some stuff is better kept private, not just for the people involved, but for everyone who might become aware of this knowledge.

Re:Pictures of his penis on the Internet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32305188)

You can't see someone's micropenis AND what he's doing, including the shit-smeared back of what he's doing. I call bullshit.

Re:Not So Much With The Internet (2, Interesting)

plover (150551) | more than 3 years ago | (#32305144)

It's become the fashion to lump everything together, as if performances, images, tangible goods, rights, efforts, and ideas are all exactly the same kinds of assets and should be treated exactly the same by corporations, governments, and individuals. That's happened because business students are taught to convert everything to dollars, assign a value to risk, and then simply slide the numbers around on an Excel spreadsheet until the biggest one pops out at the bottom.

The problem is that the dollar value they assign to risk is based on the imaginations of some not-very-creative people, and is only the risk to them, not to the end users. "Well, if we screw with the privacy policy, our risk is that we'll lose less than 0.5% of our users. That's equal to ad revenue of $3,000,000. The ROI on increased ads is projected to be $10,000,000. This change will pay itself back in months, so just do it."

What really has to happen is truckloads and truckloads of lawsuits have to be filed against them, by people whose privacy was violated. They have to learn that if they mess with our privacy, it will cost them billions of dollars in settlements and legal fees -- to the brink of bankruptcy, and even over the edge. That is the only time corporations will start respecting our rights -- when violating them is guaranteed to flush their bottom lines into the toilet.

Re:Not So Much With The Internet (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 3 years ago | (#32305174)

I agree except for one detail: just because the business nerds assign monetary values to everything, that does not mean the legal system has to. Throwing a few company directors in jail on criminal charges when their companies flagrantly infringe the privacy of others would probably be a better deterrent than some fine that is, again, just numbers on a spreadsheet that they pass to their legal and accounting people to deal with.

Re:Not So Much With The Internet (1)

linzeal (197905) | more than 3 years ago | (#32305276)

What concerns me is not that they are assigning values to everything but are using wholly different methods to arrive at those values. Economics today is the equivalent of a piece of multimedia art in the 1980's with various disparate materials glued together in some semblance of a whole. What no one wants to admit or even cares to talk about is that Economics still has highly limited long term predicative powers. The reason quantitative finance makes all its money on these 11 second extortive trades is because long term is hard and weary work.

Re:Not So Much With The Internet (1)

plover (150551) | more than 3 years ago | (#32305326)

Sorry, but that won't work. As a typical amoral shareholder or mutual funds investor, I'm perfectly OK with the CEO going to jail as long as my dividend checks keep arriving in the mailbox. The market runs only on greed, not fear of incarceration of "other people".

But imagine what would happen if Facebook was sued out of existence because of this change to their privacy policy. The next company to talk about loosening their privacy policy would see their share value dropping in half, as the wary investors divest as fast as they can.

What needs to happen is that a lot of people who were adversely impacted by this have to file giant lawsuits. Let's say that ten thousand people lost their jobs by having "drunk college pictures" revealed to their employers. If I were one of them, I'd sue for lost wages on a career where I would have potentially made $5,000,000 over my lifetime. Get a thousand victims to file those lawsuits, and the company collapses under the burden. Message to corporations: if you mess with our privacy, we will parade your rotting corpse down Wall Street and toss it in the Hudson River.

This is still America. We have the right to file lawsuits if we're aggrieved. It's the only mechanism by which individuals can teach corporations lessons that will stick.

Re:Not So Much With The Internet (1)

Alwin Henseler (640539) | more than 3 years ago | (#32305506)

Message to corporations: if you mess with our privacy, we will parade your rotting corpse down Wall Street and toss it in the Hudson River.

Sounds good, except that it could only work with publicly traded companies. Not with a company that has a few wealthy backers, not with a 2-employee bookstore around the corner or a small mom-and-pop webshop. While those may have the same opportunity to mess with your private data.

Re:Not So Much With The Internet (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 3 years ago | (#32305812)

Shareholders in publicly traded companies are irrelevant, because they do not make the day-to-day operational decisions.

Make it a personal liability issue for whichever executives do make those decisions, and you'll see results far faster than any measures based around fearing consequences on the stock market.

Re:Not So Much With The Internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32306304)

Why do we have to do one or the other? Fine them and put them in the pokey.

Re:Not So Much With The Internet (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 3 years ago | (#32305150)

I came here to make exactly that point. On-line privacy is Pandora's box: once opened, you can never put whatever was inside back again.

There is merit in considering whether the status quo is really the way we want to continue. It is possible that our current views on privacy and sharing of personal data are unsustainable in the face of modern technology. It might be true that society needs to grow up and stop pretending everyone is perfect when they apply for a job, or that everyone accused of a crime probably did it just because of the accusation. Perhaps we do need to consider censorship and regulation of parts of the Internet, on a global scale, to protect minors from content they are not ready to experience yet.

However, if you're going to experiment in these areas, the way to do it is slowly and progressively, on a relatively small scale, and with well-informed test subjects who have volunteered in the full knowledge of what they are doing. There are parallels here with, say, researching nuclear power, or experimental tests of novel medical techniques. You don't start by building a power station big enough to destroy half a country if it goes wrong, or injecting your entire population with that new vaccine on the first trial.

Sites like Facebook, on the other hand, prey on the young and naive, and suck in as many people and as much data as they can, as fast as they can. But worse, as we have seen all too often recently, they are quite willing to make promises about privacy to those people one minute, and break them the next. There is no excuse for that sort of behaviour, and it's not some commendable way of "pushing boundaries", it's just abuse and should be penalised accordingly.

One comment I saw recently summed it all up: these are difficult questions, and it is going to take at least a generation to resolve them... not least because one generation has now given up any chance of ever doing so.

Re:Not So Much With The Internet (3, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#32305230)

There is no recovering when it comes to personal data on the internet.

Not for you, or for your neighbor who gets caught blowing the dog and ends up known far and wide as the dogsucker, but for the aggregate it's a perfectly valid concept. Right now we're finding out what is and is not acceptable in social networking. Frankly, since the bad guys can buy access to your information cheaply in most cases due to broad-based incompetence on the part of the gatekeepers, with "private" or even "classified" data being lost every day (at least on average) there's not as much to be lost as most people believe. The best response to this loss of privacy is to essentially eliminate it by not just giving trust to anyone who happens to know a lot about some person. Knowing my name, address, and SSN should not be enough to get credit in my name.

Re:Not So Much With The Internet (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 3 years ago | (#32305312)

Knowing my name, address, and SSN should not be enough to get credit in my name.

Those are interesting items to bring up in this discussion, none of them can reasonably be considered private information.

Re:Not So Much With The Internet (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#32305334)

Those are interesting items to bring up in this discussion, none of them can reasonably be considered private information.

Yes, that's right. NONE of them can reasonably be considered private, even though one of those things is legally required to be kept private, and legally required to only be used for taxpayer ID purposes. I had a movie rental place in Marysville ask me for a SSN just to rent movies. I gave them a fake, fuck 'em. I know for a fact they wouldn't take any care to prevent them from being stolen. With the new requirements for encryption coming in I hope if they still do that they get sued into a smoking hole in the ground for abusing the SSN.

Re:Not So Much With The Internet (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 3 years ago | (#32305636)

Well, there are rules about confidentiality, but I would hardly call something that is registered with the government and your employer 'private'.

Re:Not So Much With The Internet (1)

fishexe (168879) | more than 3 years ago | (#32306348)

...with "private" or even "classified" data being lost every day (at least on average)...

Man, with people dying every day there's not much point in trying to save lives, is there?

Re:Not So Much With The Internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32305540)

Exactly my thought. I've always had the highest respect for Tim, but this latest statement is an obvious slip.

you'd think so, but you'd be wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32305650)

Since 1999, U.S. military and intelligence agencies have demonstrated http://www.slate.com/id/2136480 [slate.com] that once data is "out there on the internet" it is still possible to put the genie back in the bottle.

When the volume of released data is large enough, at least some (decreasing over time) portion will remain unreplicated and able to be put "back in the bottle".

And if you think you're interested in keeping your private data off the net just imagine how interested the CIA was in keeping their official lies off the net.

By way of extra lesson value, this example dmeonstrates why it is dangerous to share private data with "Friends of Friends" or pseudo-friends.

Missing the point (1)

beakerMeep (716990) | more than 3 years ago | (#32304976)

He uses the example of how we give up our location for turn by turn GPS directions. But the difference there is that we're sharing our location with the company giving us directions, not the company, it's partners, it's advertisers, the whole internet and the guy named Moe on the corner of a dark alley.

And when we decide who we want to share data with, we dont want the company just deciding since it's Tuesday they can change their policy and go ahead and share^H^H^H sell our info anyways.

Re:Missing the point (2, Interesting)

belthize (990217) | more than 3 years ago | (#32305196)

Further there's no need to share any information at all for GPS directions. We know where we are, what we're asking is where is the place we're going. Nobody else needs to know where we are. Any sharing of where you've been data is not necessary for the product to function.

The point Tim seems to be missing is not 'can sharing info be good' it's: sharing my personal info should be solely at my discretion, not yours. If I miss out on some amazing feature that's a choice I made. If other more adventurous folks volunteer and benefit then good for them and maybe I'll follow suit.

It's worse than that Jim (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 3 years ago | (#32306064)

I don't believe guys like Tim ARE missing these points! Why? Because that requires me to believe that what they post is their belief, their whole belief, and nothing but their belief!

I don't believe that anymore!

I believe they are posting *strategic* comments like a cosmic Go game. "Put a dot there to make a presence in That-Space of conception."

Try spending a day surfing with the axiom that the authors of these blogs believe *none* of what they post, but do it for any of 10 rewards - traffic, controversy, "make aggressive moves and let the users yell, until they are tired and miss one..."

Re:Missing the point (3, Interesting)

Alwin Henseler (640539) | more than 3 years ago | (#32305394)

And when we decide who we want to share data with, we dont want the company just deciding since it's Tuesday they can change their policy and go ahead and share^H^H^H sell our info anyways.

Perhaps a simple rule could be that users/customers would have to agree explicitly with any changes that would violate previous policy a user said "yes" to. And make it a criminal offence (as in: go to jail) if you ignore that rule - especially for large numbers of users.

For example, if a user previously agreed to a privacy policy that says "company will not share personal facts X/Y/Z with 3rd parties", then any policy change that would share personal facts X/Y/Z with 3rd parties (read: less restrictive in terms of sharing) should require additional, explicit approval from that user. No user approval for the changed policy -> no use of the less restrictive policy (at least for that user). Use of the less restrictive policy without explicit user approval -> criminal offense. With penalties etc. to be applied to the companies CEO's, not the techies implementing those changes. Same thing for new features that share data beyond what the user previously agreed to.

Why? Many sites have this "check back regularly on our privacy policy page" disclaimer, which is BULLSHIT. You have private data kept by many, many companies, and it is just unreasonable to expect people to re-visit privacy policies (or privacy-related user settings) on all those companies, let alone on a regular basis - and detect policy changes. If you change policies, ask users if they're okay with that. While waiting for a "yes", assume they're not. Ignore that -> face severe penalties.

Re:Missing the point (2, Informative)

bmo (77928) | more than 3 years ago | (#32305432)

"He uses the example of how we give up our location for turn by turn GPS directions. " and neither does he.

I don't think you know how GPS works.

It does not work by sending data back to the satellites. All the software and data is stored within the device. It does not transmit anything. It is a RECEIVER of time signals from the GPS satellites.

A GPS receiver, like TomTom or Garmin doesn't transmit. Ever.

Therefore, the "gps turn-by turn" gives up your privacy is complete bullshit.

--
BMO

Re:Missing the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32305482)

Wow, I shoula used preview on that. Ignore the "and neither does he" placement. It belongs with the sentence below it so it would be "I don't think you know how GPS works and neither does he"

Derp myself.

--
BMO

Rubber Band Privacy (-1, Troll)

b4upoo (166390) | more than 3 years ago | (#32305012)

Any information shared with one other person in this world is public information. That is reality. After all that one other person can blab and spread that information to the far ends of the Earth. Trying to pretend that there should be some other definition of privacy is absurd. Privacy is not a rubber band. It can not be stretched simply because shy, guilty or inadequate people want it to cover more ground.

Re: Rubber Band Privacy (1)

RobVB (1566105) | more than 3 years ago | (#32305096)

So in your opinion, there's no such thing as private communication (because communication is shared with at least one other person by definition), and it's no problem if governments or corporations listen in on phone calls, e-mails or other kinds of communication?

Re: Rubber Band Privacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32306192)

Wait until you lose a database with millions of SSN's and credit card numbers and start getting sued to the point of bankruptcy. At that point your rubber band is going to play the "snap song" right up into your face, where it's well deserved for being such a prick.

Imagine a future where you post something on your own website, it angers someone, they do a domain lookup, find your address, name etc. and burn your house down with you inside. Or just kick your ass one day out of the blue, home invasion.

4 words (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32305060)

"Don't tread on me"

Security and Privacy (4, Insightful)

farrellj (563) | more than 3 years ago | (#32305110)

First of all, security is not a destination, it's a process. You can never reach a destination called "security". Privacy is the same type of thing. You can never achieve privacy, only increase it, or decrease it. It's always a multi-point balancing system where things like ease of access, functionality, and popularity, among others, are balanced in regards to how they increase or decrease privacy.

Sure, I might be loosing a bit of privacy using Facebook, but really, none of the information that I post there is anything I would be afraid or ashamed of handing out flyers containing that same info on a street corner. If you are putting your phone number up on it, it is just like having a listed phone number in the phone book. Same goes for your address. Ever posted a resume to a job listing site? All of your employment history is there.

This is not to say that Facebook is blameless, but like any public forum, treat the information you post there as if you were putting it up on a clear and open page on the internet that anyone can read or find in a simple Google search, and you will preserve an important amount of privacy.

ttyl
          Farrell

Re:Security and Privacy (1)

Antiocheian (859870) | more than 3 years ago | (#32305266)

Sure, I might be loosing a bit of privacy using Facebook, but really, none of the information that I post there is anything I would be afraid or ashamed of handing out flyers containing that same info on a street corner.

My fear is that when the majority starts thinking like you do, not posting information on facebook will be considered something to be ashamed or afraid of.

Re:Security and Privacy (1)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 3 years ago | (#32305296)

I'm not foolish enough to post something that's actually embarrassing on Facebook - the Internet never forgets, etc. - but there's stuff on there that I'll happily share with friends but don't want the world to know, like my cell phone number. If you can't keep that category of information private from every Tom, Dick, and Harry, then what's the use of the site?

Actually, I guess that is the whole point - I don't use the site at all anymore except as a self-updating Rolodex. And I treat it like I treat Google - if I need to use it, I log in, do what I need to do, and log back out before I start wandering the Web.

Don't be so naive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32306464)

. - but there's stuff on there that I'll happily share with friends but don't want the world to know, like my cell phone number. If you can't keep that category of information private from every Tom, Dick, and Harry, then what's the use of the internet?

There, fixed that for you. Hmmm...doesn't seem so sensible now does it? This gets spouted all the time about 'I only put stuff up for my friends and family'..IT'S THE FLIPPING INTERNET! It's not your friend's and family's personal data site, it's a publicly accessible network. Sheesh!

You can't have it all ways, you either want privacy or you don't. If the former, then don't put ANYTHING up on the internet otherwise stop complaining when a publicly accessible network suddenly opens your information to the... errr... Public.

Don't be so naive.

If you're not doing anything wrong... (0, Troll)

FatSean (18753) | more than 3 years ago | (#32305304)

...you have nothing to worry about, right?

Until, of course, people start thinking you are up to no good because you don't want to participate in Facebook. I'm already getting some static from people since I closed my account. Fuck that noise, and fuck that way of thinking, but people are becoming more willing to give up freedom for the sense of protection from 'bad people' and privacy for convenience. It's pretty sad.

Re:Security and Privacy (2, Informative)

webdog314 (960286) | more than 3 years ago | (#32305452)

Your street corner analogy fails because I never expected that I was standing in the open. From the very beginning, Facebook promised it's members again and again that their personal information could and would be kept private. Then they basically went and shared it with anyone who was willing to pay them for it. To use a slightly modified version of your analogy, it's like having a private wedding reception at a nice hotel. You invite a few dozen of your closest friends, but then the hotel opens the doors and invites in anyone who walks by on the street. You can try to close the doors, but the hotel then just opens one in the back.

Facebook's problem is not just that they have a crappy privacy policy, but that they administer it in a blatantly deceptive way, to people who may not even be old enough to understand the implications of what they are doing.

Re:Security and Privacy (1)

cymbeline (1792306) | more than 3 years ago | (#32305522)

Perhaps you have to regard anything posted on Facebook as private, like you say. However, Facebook was not always so free with its user's data. I joined it at a time where you could only friend people in your own network and your profile only appeared to your friends. Each year since then, Facebook has been regularly increasing public availability of your account. It has been really difficult for a long time user who was used to privacy to get adjusted and to stay up to date to all their changes. Eventually, I deleted my account, and I would recommend anyone concerned about their privacy to do the same.

Re:Security and Privacy (1)

CoffeePlease (596791) | more than 3 years ago | (#32305994)

I'd like to offer another view. It's not what you post that you need to be worried about. It's the increasing specificity with which Facebook "knows" you through the metadata of your relationships with your friends, friends-of-friends, their likes, dislikes, purchases, status updates, and their posts about you and your family. None of which you can control, and all of which becomes increasingly invasive over time.

What is Tim O'Reilly's stake in this (1)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 3 years ago | (#32305114)

Tim O'Reilly is O'Reilly Press... which also has an enormous online presence. People comment based on their perspective. What would be the impact of better privacy to an online business like O'Reilly Press? Would it be better for Tim's business if there were less privacy?

Tim wants us to tell him why he's wrong (4, Interesting)

UpnAtom (551727) | more than 3 years ago | (#32305134)

So here it is:

1. Users do not know the boundary conditions until someone's privacy has been abused - if they're paying attention and understand the issue.

2. At that point in time, most users will have already shared too much - and once their privacy has been breached/sold, there's no undo button.

3. Users have to spend time demanding their privacy rights which may or may not be given.

4. We don't need to research where the boundary conditions are because once you know who's likely to access what information, it's not that complicated.

The only question here is whether Facebook et al have a duty of care to their users. Morally they do, legally they generally don't and, financially, they're best of selling as much as they can get away with.

Witness the clash, and hopefully the prelude to the exodus. If Google had their act together, they could clean up. Perhaps it's a good thing they don't.

Re:Tim wants us to tell him why he's wrong (1)

Al Dimond (792444) | more than 3 years ago | (#32305358)

There are some companies that act as if they have this sort of duty. Really, I think we'll find that keeping users' interests in mind at least a little will help ensure long-term success; I don't think Facebook cares. It exists to make money as fast as possible. And that comes straight from the top. There are few tech entrepreneurs I respect less than Zuckerberg.

O'Reilly typo (2, Insightful)

Antiocheian (859870) | more than 3 years ago | (#32305152)

The essence of my argument is that there's enormous advantage for us, when users are giving up some privacy online

There, fixed that for him

That's fine, but... (1)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 3 years ago | (#32305200)

'The essence of my argument is that there's enormous advantage for users in giving up some privacy online

.

That's fine but, don't force the loss of privacy who do not want to be subject to that loss of privacy.

For example, I use a "frequent shopper" card at my supermarket. I give up some privacy in using it, but I still use it because I like the benefit of doing so.

On Facebook, when I give up my privacy, I see little benefit, and a lot of downside.

Facebook needs to allow its users to set the level of privacy they are comfortable with, and stop allowing third party access to private information without the users' consent.

Re:That's fine, but... (1)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 3 years ago | (#32305736)

If facebook gave you a cut in the revenue, it might be worth something to give up privacy. But, it is solely beneficial to the corporation and its stakeholders.

20th century anonymity an anomaly (3, Interesting)

michaelmalak (91262) | more than 3 years ago | (#32305218)

Several years ago, someone posted an insight in a Slashdot comment (can't find it now) that ever since I have been expanding upon. That insight is that the 20th century is an anomaly. The 21st century is returning to 19th century tradition. One of the three particulars from that old Slashdot comment was that wearing time on your wrist was unique to the 20th century. In the 19th and 21st centuries, the time-telling piece is in a pocket.

Similarly, anonymity was unique to the 20th century. In the 19th century, due to transportation constraints, everyone knew who you were and what you did. Welcome to Facebook and the 21st century.

My expanded list is as follows (and apologies -- I don't recall which of mine are original, but I believe the original Slashdot comment listed only three examples):

  1. Telling time Described above
  2. Musician income. 19th century: Live performance. 20th century: Recordings. 21st century: Live performance due to the profit having been taken out of recordings, which in turn is due to near-zero cost to
  3. Political discussion. 19th century: Numerous overtly biased newspapers and town hall meetings. 20th century: Few television and newspaper conglomerates; newspapers supposedly "neutral point of view", a Progressive Era invention, but in actuality rarely criticize government or large corporations. 21st century: Numerous overtly biased blogs, which provide for both publication and discussion
  4. U.S. political parties 19th centuryFederalist/Whig/Republican vs. Democratic-Republican. I.e. Hamilton vs. Jefferson. I.e. centralized power vs. local power. 20th century Republican vs. Democrat. The Democratic Party got seduced by utopian Communism at the turn of the century and dominated the first half of the century. The Republicans in the second half of the century sold themselves as the anti-Communists and pretended to be for local power when in practice they were for centralized power. I.e. the choice at the ballot box was between fascism and communism. 21st century Ascendency of Ron Paul, Rand Paul, and other libertarians, due to the naked power grab by the Bush administration (and continuance by the Obama administration) and the power of the Internet mentioned above.
  5. European Political Alignment 19th century Empires 20th century: Separate countries 21st century EU
  6. Wires 19th century No need 20th century: Electrical, stereo, cable TV, and Internet wires everywhere 21st century: Everything is wireless now except for electricity, and even that is going wireless now through inductive surfaces for low-power DC
  7. Money 19th century Gold standard 20th century Paper money not backed by gold 21st century Due to collapsing dollar, we will be back on the gold standard whether in a planned or an unplanned manner
  8. Transportation and Land Use Patterns 19th century Walking, streetcar, and carriage. Buildings multi-level and close together to keep walking distances shorter. 20th century: Automobile. Buildings far apart to allow for parking lots and because the automobile supposedly provided for the best of the city and country in suburbanism, which instead ended up being the worst of both. 21st century Walking and streetcar are making a comeback, and "New Urbanism" projects that accommodate all forms of transportation without giving precedence to the automobile.
  9. Education Ownership 19th century Private schools and private tutors 20th century Public schools 21st century: A million children are now homeschooled, and the numbers are growing.
  10. Reading Pedagogy 19th century Phonics 20th century Whole word 21st century: Phonics
  11. Catholic Mass 19th century Traditional Latin 20th century Novus Ordo 21st century: Traditional Latin
  12. Labor 19th century Self-employed or work for small business; corporations only just starting to be allowed 20th century: Immortal multi-state and multi-national corporations with limited liability but the Constitutional privileges of a person 21st century: Small businesses account for 60% of all new jobs
  13. Stage Theatres 19th century: Only type of theatre 20th century: Converted to cinemas 21st century: Converted back to stage theatres
  14. Energy 19th century: Burn coal or wood at home 20th century: Delivered over electrical wires 21st century: Solar at home

Re:20th century anonymity an anomaly (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32305282)

I was with you until "the rise of Ron Paul." Ron Paul never "rose" anywhere.

Re:20th century anonymity an anomaly (1)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 3 years ago | (#32305730)

The commend above is very interesting! Specifically on Education Ownership! Public education by and large in inferior and still caught in the 1950s modality. It is no real secret that it is moving toward homeschooling and even online schooling. I think much of this trend has been caused by the Bush Administration. Determining a school's funding based on standardized examination is terribly flawed methodology. There is a reason that standardized exams are falling out of favor and some ivy league schools don't even care about them anymore: it turns out Princeton's research on the accurate predictability of academic success based on high achievement on standardized tests is plain false. Since outdated and outmoded thinking still permiates education, it is high time for a fundamental shift. Politics have no business in education, they are mutually exclusive.

Re:20th century anonymity an anomaly (1)

fishexe (168879) | more than 3 years ago | (#32306386)

Several years ago, someone posted an insight in a Slashdot comment (can't find it now)...

An insight?? Are you sure it was in a Slashdot comment?

Yes, but ... (2, Insightful)

PineHall (206441) | more than 3 years ago | (#32305220)

The issue with their experimentation, is that they change the privacy settings of a person to be more open. Any changes should be an opt-in and not an after-the-fact opt-out. Finding those settings is to change them back is also difficult. It should be easy to set one's privacy settings and to know what is open and what is not. I am all for responsible experimentation that allows me to make informed choices about my privacy.

All fine and good for a dot com US person (2, Interesting)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 3 years ago | (#32305234)

"giving up some privacy online and that we need to be exploring the boundary conditions"
In the real web 2.0 world you face spooks, army intel, gov workers, politicians, state and federal informants and corporate types.
What do they have in common in many parts of the world?
Your online blog can make your life difficult, end in a shallow grave ect. after simple web 2.0 online comments.
Much of the "web 2.0" is crawling with gov types trying to join different activist groups long term or make up their monthly arrest quotas.
Entrepreneurs will always sell your data for profit, pride, faith, patriotism or access.
So when US entrepreneurs make high-profile data handling mistakes it can have interesting flow on results.

Down with Patriot Act, long live O'Reilly Act (2, Insightful)

lucm (889690) | more than 3 years ago | (#32305254)

> there's enormous advantage for users in giving up some privacy online and that we need to be exploring the boundary conditions -- asking ourselves when is it good for users, and when is it bad, to reveal their personal information

For some reason I suspect that this guy would not be so cool about "giving up some privacy" if the proposition came from the Department of Homeland Security.

Seriously, it's a dangerous path and being edgy, 3.0 and Apple-ish does not make it right.

Re:Down with Patriot Act, long live O'Reilly Act (2, Interesting)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 3 years ago | (#32305590)

"Those that would sacrifice liberty for security gain nothing the deserve neither" and we should be asking ourselves, "Why do companies think it is good for us to give up our privacy?" We should be thinking of ulterior motives.

'Ol Tim is forgetting something important. (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#32305286)

In politics, there is something referred to as the "Overton Window". Essentially, the range of policy positions that are considered "serious", "practical", "respectable", etc. This doesn't mean that everything in the window has a chance of being executed(the opposition party(s) for instance, are virtually always inside this window, and they often don't get what they want); but anything outside the window doesn't even need to be argued against. It can simply be dismissed as "extreme", "unrealistic", "out-of-touch", and so forth.

However, groups outside of the window, while they cannot get what they want(under the political process, nothing stopping them from just shooting some people), do have the effect of gradually pushing the window in one direction or another. I'm not sure whether this happens because people use frequency of hearing an opinion as a heuristic for its popularity, or because having an extremist to point to allows former extremists to claim moderate credentials: "No, my plan to privatize virtually every state function I can is wholly reasonable. Look at those crazy libertarians... Now there is extreme." "No, I just support solid common sense and common decency to our fellow citizens, I'm not a wacko like those communists."

In the case of "online privacy"(such as it is), Facebook's little two-steps-forward-one-step-back-I-apologize-to-anyone-who-was-offended game is playing out an essentially similar dynamic. Every time they do something extreme, the new "moderate" position they "retreat" to is just a little bit further in the direction they want. They aren't just feeling out public opinion, they are working to shape it.

Shameful Attitude (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32305288)

There's a difference with creating a product which fails in the market and causing, in some cases, irreparable damage to someone's life as part of your market experiment. I hate this business attitude which cares more about shifting paradigms than professional ethics in regards to stockholders.

Re:Shameful Attitude (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32305406)

Sorry, I meant stakeholders, not stockholders.

Re:Shameful Attitude (1)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 3 years ago | (#32305558)

Quite the contrary. A business cares about shifting paradigms to pander to stockholders. If there is more money to be had by exposing user's privacy, than the stockholders, in theory, should be all for it.

The New AOL or Why Facebook Should Rot (1)

Shihar (153932) | more than 3 years ago | (#32305310)

I think everyone agrees that it is okay for some spaces to be public. No one moans about Twitter basically being a free for all. We, on the other hand, would be pissed if our personal instant messaging, e-mail, or private conversations were shoved out into the world. The issue with Facebook is that as it was originally presented, it was an in club for you and your friends. It was a way of posting to a limited circle of people that YOU chose. What has made the changes in Facebook so utterly distressing is that it has rapidly switched to something more "twitter" like in that by default it spews info on you to anyone who looks.

I didn't join Facebook to meet people or advertise myself. Facebook was a centralized place to post pictures of funneling a beer while dressed as a chick for Halloween. Now, due to its utterly arcane and cryptic privacy settings and tendency to opt you in to sharing more, you need to treat it like any other public information on yourself. That is to say that instead of behaving as you do around friends, you need to be as private as you might be at a meeting in work. That, at least for me, is the truly upsetting thing about the changes to Facebook.

I can live with it. I have no trust in Facebook's ability to keep my information confined to my friends. So, I have more or less nuked my profile and made Facebook a glorified address book. If that is how they want to run their business, more power to them, but I have little desire to participate. That said, it is a shame. A unique company that offered a truly innovative way to keep in contact with friends has turned themselves into a glorified address book. Hell, my LinkIn profile is more exciting than my Facebook these days. Eh, no loss. I am sure something else is one the Horizon. Giants falls. Facebook is going to go the way of AOL and MySpace. The tech elite will find the "new" thing and jump to that. They might keep their Facebook profile in the same way I theoretically have a MySpace page rotting on the Internet, but it will fall into disuse. The early adopters of Silicon Valley and Austin will jump first. The second wave of tech savvy will follow and let their Facebook pages rot. By the time mom, dad, and grandma show up I am sure the new thing will be dooming itself and the search will be on.

If there is one wonderful thing about the Internet, it is that creative destruction happens at lightening pace. Facebook is at or has nearly reached its full AOL/MySpace bloat. Time to let that part of the Internet begin its inevitable rot and find something new.

He's right, sort of (1)

bitflip (49188) | more than 3 years ago | (#32305404)

To me, he's right. There is a trade off between convenience and privacy, and I'm okay with that. What I am not okay with is changing the rules once you've got my content, just to benefit yourself.

It should be a law (or something), that privacy options cannot be changed without your consent. Hell, I can even be bribed - you can sell my data, but I get a cut.

No, we don't have to give up privacy. (3, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | more than 3 years ago | (#32305436)

Let's go through this guy's arguments.

  • We give up our location in order to get turn by turn directions on our phone. If you get a standalone GPS for your car, you have a receive-only device that doesn't give up your location. So it's not essential that your phone "give up your location". That's a decision the phone vendor made, not something inherent in the technology. There's no fundamental reason that the "assisted GPS" system used in cell phones has to have location info available on the server side, either. There's enough CPU power in cell phones now to run the entire GPS algorithm locally.
  • We give up our payment history in return for discounts or reward points. This is getting completely out of hand. There's now a "rewards" program connected to medical insurance. [myregence.com] This area needs regulation. There's some sentiment in the airline industry for getting rid of "frequent flyer" programs, if only all the airlines do it at the same time.
  • We give up our images to security cameras equipped with increasingly sophisticated machine learning technology. No, we don't "give it up", it's taken from us. It's not a transaction, it's a mugging. If we want that to stop, one way is to hook up face recognition software to as many cameras as possible and track politicians, then put it on a site like "wheresmysenator.com". Or "copwatch.com". That will get some action.

Re:No, we don't have to give up privacy. (1)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 3 years ago | (#32305532)

Very well said. In fact, our privacy is taken from us in devious ways. It is taken and then explained to us as somehow beneficial to us. I never see how losing privacy is beneficial. Try explaining that one ...

Re:No, we don't have to give up privacy. (1)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 3 years ago | (#32305544)

Well, we do have a lot of lab rats in our society that simply make decisions without thinking about their consequences. I suppose if Americans thought about the consequences of these rewards programs and social networking, less would actually do it. Or maybe Americans are apathetic?

Re:No, we don't have to give up privacy. (0)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 3 years ago | (#32306350)

There's no fundamental reason that the "assisted GPS" system used in cell phones has to have location info available on the server side, either. There's enough CPU power in cell phones now to run the entire GPS algorithm locally.

True, but 'so what?'. The key problem with GPS location often isn't CPU power, but antenna design. There isn't enough room inside a phone for any but the most rudimentary antenna, which means problems in fixing your position - especially in urban canyons and densely built up areas where you have serious satellite visibility and signal multipath problems. Dedicated GPS receivers also have additional clock circuits and dedicated processing channels to help with these problems (which a phone also doesn't have the room for) but even they can only do so much. (And I shouldn't have to point out that all these things add to the cost of the phone, while really not adding to the overall functionality.)
 
[$INCLUDE='standard rant reminding Slashdotters that there is more to the real world of engineering than CPU cycles']
 
You probably could overcome all this with raw CPU power - but at a cost to all the other things the phones are doing while providing navigation services.
 
These kinds of decisions aren't made in a vacuum you know. The servers that provide aGPS services, and their software and maintenance aren't free (while they can be passed on to the customer). If they could drop those services (and the associated costs) and shove all that functionality to the phone - you can bet your bottom dollar they would. But they can't, not while delivering all the other things a phone is expected to do simultaneously with pretending to be a GPSr and an autonavigator. The customer demands the phone pretend to be something it isn't, and the vendors gladly comply.

Red Herring, anyone...? (1)

Peet42 (904274) | more than 3 years ago | (#32305486)

Facebook's privacy policy is at best a distraction, since it only says how other users can access your data, not Facebook itself. They still reserve the right to "bulk out" your profile by using it as the basis for web searches, and if they get this wrong there's no comeback or method where a user can even see their own profile. Someday soon, Facebook will be sold to someone else who is willing to use that data to maximise their profits, and no-one who has "agreed" to their terms will be able to do anything about it. Enjoy the fun while it lasts...

Diaspora (1)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 3 years ago | (#32305502)

May Diaspora be successful! This social networking platform is the answer to Facebook's contentious privacy policy. I am going to vote with my wallet, not sit here and complain about that which I cannot really change.

that's not the problem (1)

yyxx (1812612) | more than 3 years ago | (#32305504)

I have no problem with giving up some privacy... as long as I get to choose.

The problem with Facebook is that if you put your information in there, they unilaterally and unpredictably disclose it to others.

Often, they seem to do that in a way that I do not benefit from, but that actually endangers me.

It's a two-way street (1)

Mostly Harmless (48610) | more than 3 years ago | (#32305510)

You can not expect to take part in an online social networking site without ceding some bit of privacy. Otherwise, the "social networking" part of the deal is void (sociableness and privacy are antonyms, fwiw). Likewise, while the services may be provided to users free of monetary charges, there is a price to be paid, and that is privacy. Just because we don't have to break out our wallets to support these sites doesn't mean that someone doesn't have to. If Facebook can't make money off their users, they can't pay their bills. It's really that simple. In this respect, I agree with a small part of the article: we do need to expect, and accept, a certain amount of openness.

That said, we should expect the same from Facebook. It is our data after all, and Facebook has no business if it has no users. They should warn users well in advance of any changes that may affect privacy and provide clear tools to edit how our data is (or isn't) used. By default, security setting should be more restrictive. I shouldn't have to worry about my friends' privacy settings. I shouldn't have to worry about personally identifying information being leaked without my permission. In these respects, Facebook has failed miserably and it is not something that we should simply accept for the sake of innovation.

How about you kindly suck my cock, Mr. O'Reilly? (1)

broknstrngz (1616893) | more than 3 years ago | (#32305520)

Your bullshit will only make sense the day you have a Facebook profile, with all the bells and whistles their regular dumbass users have. You know, face tagging and stuff, the works. I'll be on your side the day the first average Joe makes his first buck on data mined from YOUR profile.

The Rule of the Internet (1)

the Dragonweaver (460267) | more than 3 years ago | (#32305592)

"Do not post anything online you wouldn't want your mother, your boss, or your worst enemy to know."

Re:The Rule of the Internet (1)

ulor (1355759) | more than 3 years ago | (#32306088)

I agree. Although I always go by the rule don't post anything that you would more than just blush a little if your Mom, Boss, or Worst Enemy knew, which gives you the ability to be a little saucy but not crazy. So I go for PG-13+.

but Facebook got boring (1)

opencity (582224) | more than 3 years ago | (#32305598)

I don't care if they monetize which obscure pop song I quote in my status or have a record of an occasional flame war with old friends who have emerged from the decades across some political divide. (I probably shouldn't have posted my SS # as a status however ...)
What I find strange is the lack of certain kinds of innovation on the popular sites.

For instance ... ahem ... does Slashdot redirect for webkit? Doesn't seem to from my phone. What's up with that (flame away with instructions as I haven't looked around). Facebook's interface and aggregation pipeline are making my friends seem more boring than they actually are. Why are they stuck with the browser based Twitter model? Why do I get the feeling Google's biding their time and going to crush Facebook with something new and obvious?

3rd time losers (1)

hhawk (26580) | more than 3 years ago | (#32305626)

Facebook management has a long history of flouting User Privacy concerns and then want the firestorm gets' large, they back off.. the issue is the long history of repeatedly doing this.. clearly the only thing they have learned is that if they make a mistake they can apologize for it later...

So if I'm giving up my privacy (1)

TSRX (1129939) | more than 3 years ago | (#32305952)

Why isn't Facebook and all the companies that are buying my information?

Enormous Genuine Advantage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32306052)

"there's enormous advantage for users in giving up some privacy online"

Oh is there?
Like becoming a target from your own domain information perhaps?

Maybe the fact you want to buy handbags and sex dolls when you logon eBay?

Or maybe it's better to be locked out of a support forum for complaining.

Whistleblowing? Blow me O Reilly.

I'd call you an idiot, sadly your not, perhaps the more accurate word is fascist? I also won't every buy your books again. (yes I do have a few)

Fuck the status quo, they're all clowns.

ascii art porn and slash fiction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32306144)

how could anyone be foolish enough to expect privacy on the medium that spread ascii art porn and slash fiction of picard cornholing data.

Dead wrong (1)

Budenny (888916) | more than 3 years ago | (#32306222)

"....we need to be exploring the boundary conditions -- asking ourselves when is it good for users, and when is it bad, to reveal their personal information....."

Wrong. Dead wrong. What we need to be exploring is how to make it easy for users to delete information about themselves they want to delete, and delete it permanently. And how to make it easy to keep private what they want kept private.

What we think is good for users is neither here nor there.

lets pretend this is a brand-new problem from Zuck (1)

dAzED1 (33635) | more than 3 years ago | (#32306246)

Yes, brand-new issue [consumerist.com]

Lets also just forget that the guy stole source code [wikipedia.org] on many occasions, and that the guy in general is just a prick.

Yes, lets forget all these things, and pretend problems just started like, yesterday. We were all born yesterday anyway, right?

He's Wrong (1)

16K Ram Pack (690082) | more than 3 years ago | (#32306438)

The simple, bottom-line with privacy is that you ask first and make it very clear to people if you are changing things, and confirm that they're OK.

My Google Maps has a latitude option. I don't want to use it. If I accidentally press it, Google kindly points out that I'll be sharing data and would I like to confirm. No, I don't.

There's nothing old world or new world about this. It's just about common courtesy and treating people right.

When he says:-

The world is changing. We give up more and more of our privacy online in exchange for undoubted benefits. We give up our location in order to get turn by turn directions on our phone; we give up our payment history in return for discounts or reward points; we give up our images to security cameras equipped with increasingly sophisticated machine learning technology. As medical records go online, we'll increase both the potential and the risks of having private information used and misused.

well...

  1. I give up my location which is highly anonymised data, and Google clearly explains this to me. Fine.
  2. The organisations I trade with that give me discounts use this internally. That's their business.
  3. We don't "give up our images". You have no rights over your face in public. I can walk down a street in the UK taking people's photographs.
  4. If medical records go online then sure, there's a risk of something happening. A risk. Entirely different from a company just deciding to do it deliberately.

Dear Mr. O'Reilly (1)

fishexe (168879) | more than 3 years ago | (#32306494)

Dear Mr. O'Reilly,

Having recently read your piece on exploring the boundary conditions of privacy, I have come to agree with your stance that it is better for internet services to push users to far and then recover, than to just say that matters of privacy should be the user's choice. But my thought is, why limit that to personal privacy? I have some other suggestions for irreversible actions that companies could experiment with without their users' consent or foreknowledge, in order to test them out and discover the value they add:

1. Facebook and other online companies could cut off customers' toes
2. Google employees could sneak into users' beds and have sex with their spouses when the users in question get up to use the bathroom
3. Microsoft could publish customers' credit card and bank account numbers

I think it is vital to see what value these and similar actions could create by conducting an experiment, and if the experiment fails, then at least we will know that these are bad ideas. Furthermore, customers who object to these policies could always opt-out, and protest, and these protests will hopefully lead to changes. On the other hand, who knows, users might end up liking these changes, which we will never know unless we try! Of course, all of these are potentially dangerous to the user, but let's not treat them as a third rail, pillorying any company that makes a mistake with user safety. I hope you will consider including these recommendations in your next article.

Best Regards,
fishexe (slashdot user 168879)

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