Thursday, November 18, 2010

Touching your privates, One

The case of John Tyner seems an appropriate hook for a quick rundown of a few privacy-related things I noted of late. Be aware that some of these are more than a month old but that I tend to collect these and post a bunch at once.

For this first one, consider a Wall Street Journal report from mid-October according to which, AP says
several popular Facebook applications have been transmitting users' personal identifying information to dozens of advertising and Internet tracking companies. Facebook said it is working to fix the problem, and was quick to point out that the leaks were not intentional, but a consequence of basic Web mechanisms.
Facebook officials insisted no personal information was "misused" as a result, but that isn't the point:
[P]rivacy advocates said it's problematic that the information was leaked at all, regardless of what happened to it.
Exactly. Facebook encourages people to reveal more information because the more public you are, the more Facebook services you can be tied to and the more you'll use Facebook. And the more that ad companies can know about you, whether the release of that information is deliberate or accidental.

Of course, there are always those - such as in this case media critic Jeff Jarvis - who are ready and willing to embrace the corporate line and declare privacy advocates big wusses getting all worked up over nothing. No harm, no foul, they say and what's the big deal anyway?

I suppose it's too much for their cramped brains to realize that the time to deal with privacy issues and leaks and the like is before they involve harm and before they're a big deal.

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