The privacy dance

There’s an interesting dance between privacy and social media.

On the one hand, millions of people around the world eagerly use social Web sites daily (sometimes hourly) to inform friends about their lives and read about the lives of their friends.

On the other hand, they’re dismayed when governments and enterprises manage to get hold of their personal information from their writings or from metadata and use if for their own purposes.

Duane Craig has an essay on this in which he pulls together a number of sources, including academics, who seem to back his contention that absolute privacy online is a fantasy.

One of the people he cites argues that people obviously don’t care about Internet privacy — despite reports of violations, use of Twitter, Google+, Facebook, YouTube et cetera keeps soaring.
I’m not sure that logic plays out. People are concerned about drunk drivers, but that doesn’t stop them from getting into cars every morning. They expect the other driver to be responsible.

Similarly, people online expect organizations to be responsible with personal data. That’s why everyone accepts absolute privacy online is a fantasy — but that doesn’t mean they don’t have high expectations.

As Craig writes, “Each individual and business ultimately has to decide if the online privacy they are trading is worth what they are getting in return.”

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Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@]

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