Internet juggernauts such as these listed here have access to just about every finite detail of your life. Do we even pay attention to the personal nature of what we search and post these days?
This guy is the reason a lot of us started paying attention. People’s anecdotal suspicions about Facebook are usually very overblown, while Facebook’s counter to these suspicions is overly defensive. The real truth about Facebook’s privacy lies somewhere between these two extremes. Then the question is: how do we track exactly how our data is used? The first step is getting educated.
Facebook recently joined the ranks of fellowcompanies Apple, Google, and Yahoo in the public stock exchange
The new privacy policies of Google and Facebook have become considerably shorter, with an emphasis on short length and common language. Another recent trend is that privacy policies of several services are being combined into one. Other companies are expected to follow suit.
By a show of hands, how many of you think Google manipulates its search results to benefit advertisers? Behind all the algorithms and complex information stockpiles, there remains the idea that Google gets paid to manipulate its search results. However, this is a misunderstood claim lacking important context.
Google started as a search engine, but its other major attraction early on was Google Earth. But as satellite tracking becomes more advanced and Google logs more areas into Earth, privacy concerns arise.
Here are two lists, one of things that we commonly share, and another of things that we accuse companies of unfairly tracking. As you can see, they are exactly the same.
Just like how carmakers advertise high fuel effiency, internet companies are beginning to advertise transparency. Not because the companies are focused on the public good or solving their core problem (gasoline use, privacy, insert blank here) but because the issue sells. People overwhelmingly buy high-fuel efficiency cars because it saves money, not because they’re concerned with the environment. Nope, that’s just a plus. In the same manner, transparency is a popular issue for companies to tout. Whether or not they seriously plan to tackle privacy concerns is another matter.
It’s debatable which of these two new inventions invades your privacy more. Google’s soon-to-be-released shades – now known as simply “Project Glass” – will have the functionality of a smartphone, transformed into eyewear. They’re said to be capable of showing video chats, providing turn-by-turn directions, taking photos and recording notes, all by voice command. As far as privacy is concerned, the risk lies in designing a gadget that is entirely voice-controlled – it could potentially pick up things that were not meant to be commands, for example. And I’m sure most of us are familiar with Facebook’s Timeline. It’s designed to tell a user’s entire life story – which is exactly the problem. Timeline facilitates the archiving process – letting viewers see statuses and photos from years back. Many complain that they now have to actively delete old information because Timeline dredges it back up.
If you thought online privacy was bad, we might be dealing with airborne privacy in the near future. Internet privacy rules have opened the door for the next step in technology, and that next gray area of ethics is none other than unmanned drones - the same ones that we used in Libya to defeat Gadhafi. While this may sound like some far-fetched futuristic scenario, it’s actually something that could become a reality by 2015. That’s because an aviation bill signed into law by President Obama earlier this year will allow domestic use of “unmanned aircraft systems” by both the government and private citizens and businesses for the first time. In other words, if the FAA meets its deadline for integrating unmanned drones into national airspace, we could see unmanned aircraft flying around our neighborhoods in just three years' time.
Online PrivacyHow much do you know?
Internet Giants Have Great Power• Google• Facebook• Apple• Yahoo!• Twitter
Privacy PoliciesGo LargelyUnnoticed • Users very rarely read any of the dozen+ pages of a company’s internet legal-speak • As a consequence, Facebook has faced broad accusations of selling its users data to advertisers
Facebook’sIncreasedScrutiny The archive Facebook published in 2010 gave users a copy of their photos, posts, messages, list of friends, and chat conversations New version includes previous user names, friend requests and the IP addresses of the computers that users have logged in from The increased transparency coincides with Facebook’s transition from a private to a public company in the stock market More categories of information will be made available in the future, according to Facebook officials
Terms & Conditions – Wait What? Employers have begun asking for current and potential workers to share sensitive Facebook info Did you know it’s against Facebook’s terms and conditions to do that? Compare country’s standards – in New Zealand, employees asked to share their passwords have potential legal claims under their Human Rights Act or Privacy Act They can also make a public appeal to an Employment Relations Authority, a Privacy Commissioner or a Human Rights Commissioner that their privacy has been breached The US is severely behind when it comes to internet privacy Readability has become a priority
The Mystery Behind a Google Search Through AdSense and AdMob, Google in fact does prioritize sponsor-based search results However, unlike Facebook, Google has taken major steps early on to fight the appearance of corruption Google clearly marks its sponsor-based results Those results can also be blocked using browser extensions such as AdBlock Plus or by opting out through Google’s settings The main way that Google serves advertisers is letting them know through tracking files, called cookies, if users click on their results
Google Goes Global - Literally Google’s Street View is widely mocked on the web for its unfortunate satellite captures of streets Anyone who searches “street view fail” will get lists of dozens of inappropriate acts that Google captured Witness protection, stalking, and private business practices could be compromised by accidental Google satellite capture Internet ethics is a relatively new concept, but Google is among the public’s main targets From 2007 to 2010, Google worked on Street View, using local WiFi to help Unfortunately, they also picked up millions of text messages, passwords, and Internet histories this way Just 6 days ago, the company got fined $25,000 by the FCC for this breach of privacy
Defining the Line Between…Sharing & Breach of Privacy Birthday Birthday Address Address Family names Family names Products bought Products bought Place of birth Place of birth Age Age TV shows watched TV shows watched Games played Games played Movies seen Movies seen Phone number Phone number Email Email
Protecting PrivacyStop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) Self-regulation Would have granted enormous Doesn’t work terribly well (see unchecked power to the Google fine) entertainment and music Has no viable alternatives industries Companies still comply with Entire sites could have been federal laws (for the most part) blanket-censored Transparency sells Hard evidence was not needed Allows for free market growth for a copyright claim Would only affect pirating sites with .com registrations
Monopolization of Data• With corruption this hard to track, it becomes more and more troubling that companies are consolidating power• Google bought YouTube• Facebook just bought photo- sharing site Instagram• This is normal free market capitalism – but is it okay?
The Future of PrivacyGoogle – Project Glass Facebook – Timeline
Unmanned Drones Probably worse than Timeline. Just saying.