Thursday, October 29, 2009

Privacy in an online world

So much of our lives are online (whether by intent or not). For those of us active with social networks, that likelihood increases ten-fold. Well, like a good little social-network user, I just took a look through the proposed new facebook privacy policy and besides using the information there to help me lock-down my content being shared within Facebook and the applications that use the platform (think Scrabulous {now Lexulous}, Mafia Wars, and all manner of others) I also came across a means to (hopefully) opt-out of "behavioural" advertising from a number of advertisers including google, yahoo and microsoft. Just a note, the tool seems imperfect, but it will likely work better for you if you read this help page first.

Will it make a difference? Hard to say. Will I feel better for actively trying to control what of my information is shared with the world? Definitely.

Oh, and if you're not already a conspiracy theory seeing google as the next "Big Brother", check out Google's latest "Lab" ("opt-in"able beta test) tool: Social Search. Creeped out yet? Check out this perspective. What about now?


D. Tyner said...

Certainly the hard part of having a semi-private journal, diary, or recording of one activities on the internet is that you cannot control what your readership does with the info. When a sibling used to read your private diary/journal the potential damage/embarrassment was relatively small; localized to the schoolyard and such. Now with Google it is open to the world. Not that I mind really since my blogs are rarely viewed.

justin said...

It is true that we cannot control what users do with publicly-available information. Granted, I the dangers being still limited (largely) by the information we choose to share. If I don't want things known about me then I should know better than to share it rather than just to hope some people don't see it.

People have always been, and will continue to be able to make-up lies about one another. That could result in damage whether it is based in truth or not and the nature of an online world provides greater opportunity to share that information. Still, that isn't what limits my online life.