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    Online Privacy

    Every time there is an update by one of the big players (Google, facebook etc) to their privacy policies, a series of blog posts come around about how bad it all is etc etc. BUT _ I think things are getting a little more serious this time around with Googles recent announcements. I think the message is starting to get out to the wider online population and not just us paranoid webmasters / seos / site buyers etc.

    I mentioned in another post how scary it is the number of organisations that have our private data; just from signing up to online accounts here and there to test things or look at new services and then we never go and delete the accounts, or forget about them or worse there isn't an option to delete the account. As I said in the other post i was looking at my password manager and it is scary how just through the course of doing my work there are literally hundreds of places my data is stored across the web.

    I really do feel that online privacy debates are going to move from the noise we see now to a major blow up - logically it simply has too - our data is simply everywhere in an uncontrolled, un-managed, un-policed, non standardised way - that data is replicated via backups, downloadable by sys admins, accessed by customer service agents etc. a scary mess and the data is getting oh so much more personal than it ever has with the rise of social networks and the likes of google then using that data across ALL of their services.

    Techcrunch published this article last night - which adds a new angle to the future personal data 'account management'.

    http://techcrunch.com/2012/01/25/eus...cing-user-data

    I am certainly a lot more careful as to what I do now in terms of signing up for things, starting new accounts etc. But, for example Google has us over a barrel somewhat - great products (for the most part) worked into daily life (Google apps / mail / analytics / adsense) - and now - share your data or get lost is their message. Serves me right i guess. Never build a business on platforms you cant control. Lesson learned.

    What are your thoughts ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by golles View Post
    Never build a business on platforms you cant control. Lesson learned.

    What are your thoughts ?
    I'm wondering what platforms you CAN control?

    Link to the new almagamated Google Policy - http://www.google.com/policies/

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    Quote Originally Posted by JJMcClure View Post
    I'm wondering what platforms you CAN control?
    good point - I was hinting more at being able to control (in terms of control where it is shared and how it is used) or at least access the data via a database, be able to download, take your own backup copies etc.

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    Chabrenas (26 January 2012)

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    Sorry, I missed this thread earlier.

    I believe control is impossible at user level. It has to be at organisational level and will only happen if there's very, very strong political will to severely punish the slightest transgression.

    That ain't happening anytime soon.

    I really do feel that online privacy debates are going to move from the noise we see now to a major blow up
    It depends. The younger generation are being primed to grow up in a new religion of "sharing". They are being educated into it at schools and are been bribed into it outside of schools. Except that this isn't a nice, community type of sharing. It's sharing born of commercial greed and which has been created for the sole purpose of exploiting the new gold mine that's the population's private data. We are sleepwalking into a world of greater and greater corporate exploitation of individuals and the individuals who are going to comprise our future world are actually excited about this state of affairs.

    Yesterday's news: Twitter has admitted copying entire address books (and they don't even apologise for it. All they say is that they've "updated" their privacy policy!)

    A few people need to be taken out and shot. Yet if you have a look at the social graphs today there's not so much as a murmur about this Twitter intrusion!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clinton View Post
    The younger generation are being primed to grow up in a new religion of "sharing". They are being educated into it at schools and are been bribed into it outside of schools. Except that this isn't a nice, community type of sharing. It's sharing born of commercial greed and which has been created for the sole purpose of exploiting the new gold mine that's the population's private data.
    Damn straight... but what's new there really? It's just a modern take on an age old practice of control for profit. Possibly though, it's a double edged sword and the greater access to information and communication could easily end up killing the same system that allowed it to exist in the first place. The advertisers and global corporations might be providing us with the very tools we need to bring them down.

    Maybe, I'm kind of thinking out loud here.

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    Let's see the bright side of things.

    I will argue that there has never been a time in history where the average person had more privacy than today, anywhere in the world.
    Hell, the very word privacy is a (relative) neologism

    Think about it, when did people have more privacy than today? Ten years ago? In the 70ies? Before the world wars? Even earlier?

    Not only people are more aware of their privacy than ever before, but there are modern laws in place to protect that privacy.


    Now, people willingly giving up their privacy is another problem altogether...

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    akirk (16 February 2012)

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    I would agree with Theodore - but add that never before have so many organisations pursued you for your private information!

    However, the interesting irony about a big brother society is that it has an achilles heel - by the very nature of an overwhelming confidence in their own system those who believe they are monitoring everyone can't bring themselves to believe that anyone would not be in their system - so for those who live off-radar it actually becomes a benefit - if they are not on the computer, no-one checks up on them - thos in control of the data turn off their brains and use the computers to tell them what to check...

    It also allows ironically the individual to control their identity in a way never seen before... I am sure that between us we could use the web to build a false identity - we could get it track record on search engines / email systems / social media / wikipedia / purchases and reviews on Amazon / ebay identity / etc. etc. Now some will say that is not possible without a bank card / ID - but that is the beauty of this approach to privacy - they are easy to get - as we see with so many fraudulent ones around - and becasue the authorities have an overwhelming belief in their own systems, once you have one item (which doesn't necessarily need to stand up to much scrutiny) you can use that as proof to get the next half-dozen, now all 'genuine' against your false identity - now return to your original document and get a genuine one, using the other items as proof - you can then build any identity you wish...

    Now of course, this would no doubt not be terribly legal, so not advocating it - but I am sure that lots of people have done it - a handle on a forum / a false email address when you want to get to something to download it but have to sign up / etc. no different! So, while more and more our privacy is being encroached, ironically more and more we can control 'who we are' and what others believe about us - you can use the system against itself...

    Alasdair (or am I?! - you trust that I am - but has someone else logged into my account / on my computer?!)

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    Quote Originally Posted by akirk View Post
    However, the interesting irony about a big brother society is that it has an achilles heel - by the very nature of an overwhelming confidence in their own system those who believe they are monitoring everyone can't bring themselves to believe that anyone would not be in their system - so for those who live off-radar it actually becomes a benefit
    I like this Alasdair!

    Are there other ways to exploit this "vulnerability" legally? If anyone has any links or articles with ideas on this I'd be very interested.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheodoreK View Post
    I will argue that there has never been a time in history where the average person had more privacy than today, anywhere in the world.
    Walk down any major shopping precinct in the western world and tell me you have privacy. Just about every shop now has cc cameras. Have a child in Australia and see if you have any privacy, regular visits from government health dept's. I am still lucky you can buy stuff with cash, but try buying a house with cash and see what happens. Privacy now is for very few people who are willing to live off the grid, but even then if you need any kind of emergency health, or work then you have no rights but to hand over your privacy.
    And they thought me broken, that my tongue was coated lead, but I just couldn't make my words make sense to them, if you only listen with your ears ... I can't get in
    Non ducor, duco

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