Tuesday Round-Up: Great Reading On Online Privacy

May 25, 2010

Australia Minister: Google’s Privacy Policy is Creepy, Mashable

He called Google’s privacy policy “a bit creepy;” specifically, he said that the recent incident, where Google was caught collecting private wireless data, was the “single greatest breach in the history of privacy.”

Facebook, Google and Twitter: custodians of our most intimate secrets, Guardian

Your digital life can be split into two parts: content and data. You know plenty about the content: that oh-so-hilarious tweet you punched out after closing time, or those delicious pictures of the new baby posted on Flickr especially for your aunt in Australia. You create this stuff, and much of the privacy argument has been over whether strangers or ex-girlfriends or even your parents should be allowed to see it without your express permission. Yet all that is a handful of dust compared to the cascades of data about yourself that you shed daily.

What sort of information? Ian Brown of the Oxford Internet Institute has a little riff: “You wake up and check your email, which means the internet service provider now has fresh records on you. While walking to the train, you’re caught by CCTV. You swipe your Oyster, which has Radio Frequency Identification technology and records your movements. Get into work and do some searching on the internet, giving Google more data to go on. Buy some lunch and you hand over a Nectar card which logs all your purchases . . .”

Facebook’s Culture Problem May Be Fatal, Harvard Business Review

Generation Y accepted Facebook as a free gift and proceeded to connect, express, and visualize the embarrassing aspects of their young lives. Then Gen Y grew up and their culture and needs changed. My senior students started looking for jobs and watched, horrified, as corporations went on their Facebook pages to check them out. What was once a private, gated community of trusted friends became an increasingly open, public commons of curious strangers.


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