Ok, I know I am running against the grain in asking this question but, what is the big deal about privacy and Facebook? This is an issue that seems to have almost universal traction. Almost everyone seems to think this is something for anyone on Facebook to be very concerned about. But I simply don’t understand it.
To start, I believe that while anything on the internet may contain an illusion of privacy, that no real privacy exists. First, every time you log on your computer and start surfing, you have a dedicated address (this is beyond your email address) that your internet service provider can see. And they see everything you do. They know where you surf on the web, where you shop, and can read every single email you both type and receive. They also are at liberty to try to make money off this data. So, well beyond Facebook, there is no privacy on the internet when it comes to the businesses that you choose for your internet service. And it is easy for the government to see it too. There is no online privacy. There never has been.
Second, why would it bother me if a business wants to scan where I surf, what I buy over the internet, and even what bands and movies I like in order to market goods to me? There is always a certain amount of advertising clutter on the internet. I don’t ever recall buying anything off the internet due to advertisements. But if someone wants to flash up a science fiction movie advertisement versus a Mabeline commercial due to my likely buying patterns, well, more power to them. Maybe it will work one day!
Third, the real threat out there isn’t from companies but from nefarious individuals. Hopefully, I am being wise enough on who I add onto my friends Facebook list that I am not inviting potential criminals to review my going ons. I guess someone could rob you if they noticed you were posting from out of your local area but I trust the people on my list not to do that. And what if a “friend of a friend” could see my profile and was trying to steal my identity? The most they could glean is where I live and my email address (and that I like science fiction movies, progressive rock, etc.). I think it would be hard to build up a scam or steal my identity off of the data I have on my Facebook page.
It’s not that there aren’t things to worry about in this world, maybe even especially on the internet. The mainlining of vices (pornography, gambling, and getting prescription medication without a prescription) are just a few of the real problems online out there. The internet is also rife of spreading rumor and innuendo and making people think something is real (you literally can’t believe what you see) and what is not. With digital technology, you can make images of people say and do things they never did. Bullies also love the internet and make use of the technology (particularly in middle and high school). And there are predators on the net trying to steal identifies, scam people, and worse (if they can trick you into giving them real data that could cause you damage). And parents have to be real watch guards over their children’s activity on the internet. Children, teens, and even adults will wander into places on the net they never would in the real world. I am a firm advocate of having “Family Computers” in the center of the house where everyone can see what is going on online versus a kid off in his/her room with a laptop.
Am I missing something? What do you think?
Until next time,