You're out there
People are willing to spread their information across the web on this site and that site in exchange for freebies. At the same time, they disagree with site marketers following their activities to offer them new products and services, coupons, etc.
Placing your information on Facebook or tweeting it around makes it tough for the Privacy Police to protect you.
Privacy became real important to the government people when WikiLeaks
started throwing out all those dumb notes diplomats were sending back and forth to each other. The cables exposed them as being crafty, sneaky, snide, slippery, two-faced – you know human – in their dealings.
As Striker said, "It's a good thing he doesn't know how much I hate his guts."
Basically, WikiLeaks is able to get away with it and thrive either because someone is ticked off at someone and wants to make their words public to embarrass them or because someone feels someone isn't acting in "the public's interest" and wants to bare their evil doing to the world. We're not pessimistic, but even our kids realize that they have measured control over their privacy.
Source: Pew Internet & American Life
If you ask people if it's OK for companies to follow your activities on the web, there is a resounding NO. Ask them if they want these same people to present them with special offers, coupons and enhanced service and it's a solid YES. Unfortunately, even free costs something. Web users – especially kids who have grown up with the web – are more educated about how much of their information is available online and they know how to control it.
Private suggestions and the social scene
While people are increasingly comfortable using the web, they're also smarter on what information they should make available and when they should opt out. Younger adults have grown up with a healthy skepticism in products and services available around the Internet. Last year, Pew Internet & American Life Project reported that more than 30 percent of all Internet users ages 18 to 64 were worried about the amount of information available about them on the web.
The young crowd takes a more Laissez-faire approach and they're vigilant about their personal information. Cripes, they share everything on social network sites like Facebook and LinkedIn, be it photos, videos, status updates, life experiences or connections. They also know how to tune their privacy settings to manage access to their information. Our kids know web sites drop cookies on computers that track online preferences and activities.
Creative people have moved beyond cookies to device fingerprinting, tracking signals specific to your laptop or mobile device. Google, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Flickr and thousands of other social sites reap huge databases of personal minutiae they sell to marketers (yes, to governments, too). Their powerful software engines are getting better every day, tirelessly aggregating and analyzing data to understand how you behave and interact with your connected world.
This includes what you watch, what you click, what you don't click, where you are, who/what you are near, what you buy, what you eat, like/dislike, you name it. The better the job they do, the more relevant the ads, ideas and products they can encourage you to buy. And the more free services they can offer you to deliver even more ads, ideas and products. That's called free enterprise with a huge emphasis on free, which folks like.
Of course, bad guys do the same thing. You put enough personal and relationship data out there in tens or hundreds of locations, and they can ultimately find your specific personal identification information. Security folks who are always one step behind cyberthieves agree with Striker, "No, I've been nervous lots of times." The Privacy Police says its "Privacy Bill of Rights" will limit data collectors and protect you. Come on, how can you be against that? Brits estimate that everyone in England is captured on camera 300 times a day and governments around the world track online communications internally and externally.
That's different, however. I don't know about you, but I'll take folks tracking me to sell me something over the government – any government – tracking me. Seeing what most government departments and agencies do for us, we agree with the controller, "I know, but this guy has no flying experience at all. He's a menace to himself and everything else in the air... yes, birds too." But maybe the government will get Net Neutrality and privacy right this time around?
Photo Source: Paramount Pictures
Many people get a little frightened when they hear someone say, "Hi, I'm from the government and I'm here to help you." Give some departments an inch and... After all, we now meet really fun, interesting people when you decide to fly today.
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