The Future Of Privacy Is Full Publicy

Zuckerburg was right, “privacy was no longer a ‘social norm’,” being public is the new social norm, though most people will still tend to reject reality, even myself. I’ve finally gotten over about 90% of privacy issues, I might get upset by/at them, but even if there is something exposed, I’m preparing for it now. Anyone under the age of 21, within the US, who has ever used the internet has already lost their identity, so why should they worry, about what any company is exposing about them? It’s time to get over these feelings and accept the change that is coming, a ton of privacy isn’t worth an ounce of knowledgeable protection.

Just the other day, Facebook, proposed an update to their privacy policy to allow third-parties to have access to your data, some point in the future, and with this comes, yet, another wave of criticism, some. People are jumping all over Facebook, because they feel people will be paranoid that their data is vulnerable, and that their data shouldn’t be given out willie-nillie to just any third-party site that Facebook comes to agreement with. You would think people would be used to this type of position coming from Facebook, by now, this is their fourth or fifth slip up, but still people complain for a few months and then calm down, until it happens again.

Our most personal data in the US, social security numbers, is insecure, especially if you were born after 1988. The numbers can be defined through 2 data points, date & location of birth, and a little brute forcing. So for the younger generation, nothing is private, not even our government provided personal identification. If we aren’t protected in that regard, should we really be worried about those images from last weekend or who our friends are, what our opinions are? I think Eric Schmidt said it best, in an interview where he discussed privacy, “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.”

I know I jumped on Facebook, but they aren’t the only sites that have huge inventories of data on their users, in hopes of adding relevancy, Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, et al. Facebook is the simplest site to jump on because of it’s repeated transgressions in the area. Google has faced it as well, though, when it didn’t take enough discretion in opening up their Gmail users privacy through Buzz. As the web keeps advancing, privacy options are going to be set to off on default, it will be up to the users to change the settings to keep themselves private, this has been called ‘publicy’.

Are you prepared for the next generation, the age of publicy? Are you ready to get dirty mucking around with settings to protect what little privacy, you will have in the future? Will you let everything go, and change how you interact on the web? These are questions that we will all face, but I think I’m prepared to be completely open in my environment when it comes to social matters, they aren’t anything compared to my financial information or my social security number, which can apparently be brute forced by a bot-net of 10,000 machines in ~1.27 seconds.

Update: Tyler Romeo’s latest post, Why I Dislike Facebook & Foursquare, makes a great point in contrast to the opinions I made here, I agree with quite a bit of what he has to say as far as respecting your users and offering secure protocols, to help protect your users. Take your time and go check that post out.

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  • jjaime

    I have to disagree with the end of privacy. Though there is a new approach to the publicity of data it doesn't mean there is a loss of the sense of privacy. I think Danah Boyd said it best in her SXSW Keynote that I've been reading lately. http://www.danah.org/papers/talks/2010/SXSW2010

    I have to agree with danah when she says that just because Zuckerberg or Schmidt say it it doesn't mean it's true. I mean it's true for their services (for FB or Google) privacy doesn't matter, but for many people it matters and a lot, even for under 21. There's things you're willing to share with the world, but not with your mother.

    In fact I find that many other minorities wouldn't want to share their information. Starting from the SXSW talk I did some empirical research on Facebook and Twitter and found that people belonging to some minority controlled more what they shared (even the under 21) .

    My view of this issue is that services like google or facebook need to work on how people control their information and my hypothesis is that giving control to people rather than make things more “private” will bring a space where people can open up completely with a small group while controlling what goes out as public and publishable.

  • My post wasn't so much that privacy is dead, it's that privacy by default is dead. We are going to have to understand our controls, and what effects our public data can cause. I agree it's all about have the controls to segment data by the availability to certain groups, but we're going to have to set those groups.

    Personally, I'm done worrying about the privacy issues that are set by default, because these systems in general provide us the ability to opt-out, which is going to be the new standard, rather than opt-in. I have a firm understanding of what privacy settings I need to set, and how to monitor my various accounts, to protect against identity theft.

  • jjaime

    Yes Privacy as the default is pretty much over since it seems this top executives at internet major services have all the control over the defaults. The idea is that we need to make sense of this information and maybe get some sort of classes at school where privacy and publicity are treated. I think that this subject should be addressed there as sexual education does because making sense of what is private or public seems to be a matter of knowing how to control it.

    I also think the default should depend on the service and we should act accordingly and that a tool or service that help us manage how much information we should share will be the next big thing on the internet if correctly done (maybe by us who knows) because information control will rather make us share more than less, just share more with a smaller group and share less with the broader audience.

  • I agree with the education, literacy in privacy controls is going to be along the lines of financial literacy, and they will actually intersect as far as your privacy in micro-transactions and on-line purchases through stores.

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  • The statement “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place” only applies if you are someone who has never been stalked, been in an abusive relationship, or lived under an oppressive dictatorship. Otherwise going about your life as any normal person would falls under “shouldn't be doing it.” See some of the fallout from the Google Buzz privacy fiasco for details.

    For example:
    http://fugitivus.wordpress.com/2010/02/11/fuck-
    http://neteffect.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2010/0

  • Tina, that is true, I never stated privacy is going away, and everything will be public, without a choice. What I did say is that 'publicy,' where the default is public, and you have to set your privacy afterwords, is were we are headed.

    I even linked to the fugitivus article in my post, but that was a mixture of issues, not just privacy settings. Everyone was forced into the service, which has nothing to do with this and I should never have happened, and Buzz initially had weak privacy settings that have been fixed mostly.

    The point is that if you sign-up, legitimately, your profile and data will be provided by default, and you will always have the option to close the gates on how far and to who your data travels.