As you tread the halls of sanity you feel so glad to be unable to go beyond*

Twilight crawling through my windowpane.

Canada’s privacy commissioner is concerned about  the privacy implications stemming from Google’s confirmation that it had been capturing Wi-Fi data in neighbourhoods across Canada and around the world over the past several years. An official investigation has been launched in order to determine if Google’s cars photographing streetscapes for Street View have also collected personal data sent over unsecured wireless networks.

Oh what a tangled web. Google overlords. Who have forgotten to read the Overlord Rules. Or choose to disregard them.

Facebook has also been under fire in terms of privacy and did a U-turn a couple of weeks ago. Facebook claims that it will make four privacy revisions: providing a single simplified control panel where users can choose who gets to see the content you post; reducing the amount of personal information that must be visible to everyone; controlling third-party applications and partner websites accessing information; a promise that this will be the last revision to privacy settings for a long time.

On April 21, Facebook announced two new applications: ‘instant personalisation’ and ‘open graph’. Instant personalisation shares Facebook users’ information with third-party websites automatically, without seeking users’  consent. Some users think it’s great, as it automates stroking personal preferences. For others, it’s a serious privacy bug.

In terms of the ‘open graph’, where is the web where the default is actually ‘social’? Powerful, yes. Can and should something like Facebook chart the maps of its users’ lives? And bring it through the ‘back door’ – sounds like the scene in Star Wars where democracy fails via thunderous applause. The Evil Emperer takes control of the Senate.

No, I don’t belong to Facebook. I have an account at MySpace. Modified version of my name, but accurate profile information. A social networking experiment.  I’ve had stalkers and no, I really don’t want some people I haven’t heard from in 20 years finding me. I don’t have time for a bunch of ‘fake’ friends. I barely have time for real ones.  I also have an account at LinkedIn.

With the Facebook changes, it’s hoped that people will never figure out what clicking all the boxes really means. Or how to opt out. A Faustian deal to sell the soul. Legal provisions will hopefully ensure ‘privacy by default’. Selling your soul  and your personal information to a false impression of ‘privacy’. Is it really there? Or just an illusion? What price for privacy or what you think it means to you?

Making the world a better place to connect and share? Really? Sounds like rhetoric. And profit. The Rules of Acquisition.

No, I don’t like to be publically ‘available’. I like to turn off my mobile phone and get a couple of hours peace.

I like my privacy. My sanity. I can go beyond, but I choose not to.

* Prologue, Electric Light Orchestra, Time (1981)


~ by hooklineandthinker on June 3, 2010.

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