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Have We Lost Our Privacy To the Internet? 222

Posted by samzenpus
from the tell-us-everything dept.
An anonymous reader writes "An article in the Guardian, penned by Joss Wright and Tom Chatfield, discusses whether we — as in Internet users in general — are, or indeed are not, giving away way too much information about ourselves to large Corporations that profit handsomely from mining the info. The article talks about how contemporary internet companies — perhaps predictably — are run with a 'privacy is dead' motto. It considers what implications having all your private data out on the internet — where it can be seen, searched, shared, retransmitted, perhaps archived forever without your consent — has for the 'future of our society' (by which the authors presumably mean the society of the UK). The (rather long) article ends by mentioning that Gmail scans your email, that Facebook apps frequently send your private data right to the app developer, that iPhones are known to log your geographic location, and that some smartphone apps read your address book and messages, then dial home to transmit this info to the company that developed the app."
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Have We Lost Our Privacy To the Internet?

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  • I believe so. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by GmExtremacy (2579091) on Sunday March 04, 2012 @05:52PM (#39242433)

    Many people just don't seem to care about privacy any more. And indeed, with people accepting the Patriot Act (in the US) and adopting the "nothing to hide, nothing to fear" mentality, I think things will only get worse.

    Some places are installing cameras everywhere in public places due to a criminal paranoia. Even if you don't technically have privacy in most public places, the cameras just make this even worse. They're not comparable at all to normal humans spotting you because these cameras are everywhere at once and can (and do) record everything they see (unlike a human's faulty memory, the cameras won't forget anything).

    Then there's the whole problem of people willingly giving up all of their information to websites like Facebook. I personally have no doubt that there will come a time when privacy violations and spying are seen as normal and acceptable. In fact, that might already be largely true.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      We spent thousands of years with no privacy whatsoever. The idea that we ever had some fanciful idea called "personal privacy" is largely a myth. Even with regard to government monitoring. I don't have to remind anyone about our various national histories.

      But yes, now data collection, correlation and general connectivity have gone through the roof. So we make laws about, bargain over, even make and sell various products and services, all surrounding personal privacy.

      Things ebb and flow.

      • Re:I believe so. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 04, 2012 @06:14PM (#39242567)

        We spent thousands of years with no privacy whatsoever.

        Thankfully, we realized (and have forgotten, apparently) that privacy is not only preferable, but is important to keep the government in check. A government that can break into anyone's house, spy on anyone, and look for the slightest infraction is one that is most prone to abuse.

        • Re:I believe so. (Score:5, Interesting)

          by jhoegl (638955) on Sunday March 04, 2012 @06:23PM (#39242647)
          Except, this isnt the government, it is the "private sector". You might find this a quandary, but consider that a company has your data and you must pay them to keep it away from the free press. Sure, it might be extortion now... but wouldnt that be blocking "free trade"?
          You see... when corporations own the government, there is no stopping them to endeavor to make you their slave.
          Even monetary systems can be manipulated into slavery. For example, Communism. But instead of the government controlling everything, companies do.
          And well... since companies are people... it turns into the one thing everyone has hated and feared since the 1920s.
          • Re:I believe so. (Score:5, Insightful)

            by epyT-R (613989) on Sunday March 04, 2012 @07:02PM (#39242893)

            the state and private enterprise routinely pass data back and forth between the barrier to get around the regs.. it's a hybrid situation so blaming just one of them is pointless..

            • The only difference between a state and a private enterprise is the number of shareholders and their direct power to influence things.
          • Re:I believe so. (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 04, 2012 @08:48PM (#39243553)

            Privacy died over a decade ago. Only the magnitude of the damage to loss of privacy has been amplified.

            Cookies, Banner Ads, JavaScript, Java Applets, DejaNews (yes, they were the first ones to archive Usenet posts for an indefinite period of time, before they got bought by Google), site redirects by an advertiser. Remember the Sun CEO quote--you have no privacy, get over it (or very close similar words). More recently, using scripts to submit an invisible form on the user's behalf, to knowingly and deliberately browser security to force tracking cookies (not just Google, folks, other advertisers too are still doing this even if Google fixed their issue).

            Only now, more than ever before, is it profitable to hold a user's data hostage, demanding a court order to remove that which the user still owns the copyright over.

            But it isn't new--it's just a much higher severity than ever before when it causes someone embarassment, or the loss of a potential or current job, or when something someone says has been dealt with--it still lives on longer than it should.

            And, most importantly, building up massive user profile for the stupid fucking dream that a user will not only intentionally click on an ad (as opposed to accidentally when the ad interfered with where they intended to click) and even more ludicrous, that the same user will actually buy something just because the ad stalked them from page to page and targeted them.

          • by Anonymus (2267354)

            That's so cute, you think the corporations aren't the government :)

        • by Taco Cowboy (5327) on Sunday March 04, 2012 @06:29PM (#39242687) Journal

          Privacy is a commodity - a private commodity

          Each of us has our own privacy, and each of us interpret "Privacy" a little bit differently

          As to whether we have given away our privacy to the corporations, I think it's too much of a blanket statement

          You see, privacy is ours to begin with. The decision of whether not our privacy is handed over to the corporation largely falls into our own hand

          If you decide to value your own privacy, then you won't reveal your own real identity online - and there are many ways to keep your real earth identity separate from your online identity

          Plus, if you are so afraid that huge corporations like Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook may be gathering your privacy, then you should take step to ensure that whatever they gather from your activities online would not reflect who you are, in real life

          Do not blame the corporations if you reveal everything yourself

          And one more very important thing - Your privacy is not only in danger on the Internet

          There are other areas that your privacy might be revealed to others - like your medical history, your driving licence, your voting records, the secret files the government (governments ?) keeps on you, et cetera

          Do not think that just because your online privacy is threatened that your off-line privacy is not

          • Do not blame the corporations if you reveal everything yourself

            As someone else said, your relatives/friends could mindlessly give away your information on Facebook or something such as that. Even just a name may be enough for someone to learn something revealing about you with a quick search.

            • by Taco Cowboy (5327)

              Do not blame the corporations if you reveal everything yourself

              As someone else said, your relatives/friends could mindlessly give away your information on Facebook or something such as that. Even just a name may be enough for someone to learn something revealing about you with a quick search

              When you do not reveal everything to your friends, colleagues, and even to your own family members, how much do you think they can reveal to the world about you?

              After all, the word "Privacy" came from "Private", and the most "Private" thing there is yourself - yes, your very own self

              • by jhoegl (638955)
                I agree, living in a bubble is awesome! Steve Jobs did!
                OH wait....
                One other thing, these "other ways to protect your privacy" cost money. So, either way companies are still making money off of you.
                • by Taco Cowboy (5327) on Sunday March 04, 2012 @06:53PM (#39242841) Journal

                  I agree, living in a bubble is awesome! Steve Jobs did!

                  It's not "living in a bubble"

                  It's merely living your own life without having to tell the world everything about yourself

                  I've friends who are loud mouths and they will tell everything about everybody, including everything about themselves to the world

                  Hey, to those people, they are willingly revealing where they work, how much they earn, who their doctors are, what type of disease they have, what political inclination they belong to, and so on ...

                  For people like that, don't blame the corporations if one day they can't purchase health insurance no more because everyone know that they gonna have cancer to the liver/lung/whatever in the future

                  One other thing, these "other ways to protect your privacy" cost money. So, either way companies are still making money off of you.

                  Who says that you need to pay to protect your privacy?

                  All you need to do is to zip your mouth shut and to be extra careful of what you do online and off-line

                  If I do not want people to know where I shop, when I shop, how much I pay for milk a month, I don't shop in ONE store and I don't use my credit card when I do my shopping

                  If I do not want people to know the frequency of my travelling from Detroit to Chicago, then I change my mode of transportation often - fly some times, drive some other times

                  It all boils down to what you do with your own live

                  • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Sunday March 04, 2012 @07:15PM (#39242967)

                    Your approach is way too randian.

                    For example - I recently sent a URL to a friend with gmail address.
                    I noticed from the logs that google spidered that website within minutes of me sending that email. Not much of a surprise that google would do it (although a bit chilling to see it in practice), but the problem with your approach is that not only do I need to know that Google will suck up everything I send to someone at a gmail address I also need to know what every other email host will do with email sent to their systems. That's not practical - especially when google does things like offer free email services for personal domains, then I have to do something like dig through MX records to find out who the real host is for every single person I ever send an email too and then figure out what their policies are and if they have changed since the last time I sent an email. That is beyond "not practical" and is now firmly in the territory of ridiculous.

                    The only alternative then is to live in a bubble of isolation, refusing to interact with anyone using modern means for fear of disclosing information to the wrong people.

                    • by ArundelCastle (1581543) on Sunday March 04, 2012 @07:43PM (#39243127)

                      I noticed from the logs that google spidered that website within minutes of me sending that email. Not much of a surprise that google would do it (although a bit chilling to see it in practice), but the problem with your approach is that not only do I need to know that Google will suck up everything I send to

                      I'm not sure why it's chilling either. Spidering the link immediately delivers "relevant" ads to your Gmail window right away. That is how Gmail is meant to be.

                      Chilling would be if your robots.txt is set to turn down spiders and they do it anyway. Chilling is when they don't play by their own rules, not the rules themselves.

                    • by Taco Cowboy (5327) on Sunday March 04, 2012 @07:43PM (#39243129) Journal

                      Your approach is way too randian

                      No, it's not randian, but instead, it's the most practical way to live one's own life in the world we are living in

                      It's the you-are-responsible-for-your-own-wellbeing way of living

                      In this world where everything could be archived somewhere, if you reveal things about yourselves, like the water that has splashed out of a cup, there's no way to get the genie back into the bottle

                      For example - I recently sent a URL to a friend with gmail address.

                      I noticed from the logs that google spidered that website within minutes of me sending that email. Not much of a surprise that google would do it (although a bit chilling to see it in practice), but the problem with your approach is that not only do I need to know that Google will suck up everything I send to someone at a gmail address I also need to know what every other email host will do with email sent to their systems

                      This world we live in is indeed very different from the world our forefathers lived

                      And the way we live in this world should also be very different from the way our forefathers lived in their world

                      We must change faster than the pace the world is changing, or we will be consumed by it all

                      That's not practical - especially when google does things like offer free email services for personal domains, then I have to do something like dig through MX records to find out who the real host is for every single person I ever send an email too and then figure out what their policies are and if they have changed since the last time I sent an email. That is beyond "not practical" and is now firmly in the territory of ridiculous

                      If you think that it's ridiculous, think of the world our offspring will inhibit

                      Their every-day-lives will be recoded somewhere

                      Their presence in every place will be noted, what they said and do will be archived, everything including their shoe-size will be known to people who wants to know

                    • by next_ghost (1868792) on Sunday March 04, 2012 @08:23PM (#39243419)
                      Encryption is always an option. You can interact with people just fine, just ask them to use proper measures and teach them how if necessary.
                    • by Larryish (1215510)

                      You can find a VPS with enough resources to handle email for $2 or less per month.

                      It might not have enough memory for clamspam, but Thunderbird's junk mail feature suffices.

                  • I make comments on digg and soulpancake. I recently did a google search on my user name. I discovered that all of my comments on digg and soulpancake were listed there and they were on the first page. Not only was my username there but also my real name and a picture and my hometown. I did notice that slashdot was not listed so I am grateful for that. I do not know how they associated my real name with my user name. Even though it is possible to know my real name from this I doubt that anyone has take
                    • by Taco Cowboy (5327)

                      I make comments on digg and soulpancake. I recently did a google search on my user name. I discovered that all of my comments on digg and soulpancake were listed there and they were on the first page. Not only was my username there but also my real name and a picture and my hometown. I did notice that slashdot was not listed so I am grateful for that. I do not know how they associated my real name with my user name. Even though it is possible to know my real name from this I doubt that anyone has taken the time to do so

                      It's not hard to associate one person's real name with his online name if that person reveals too much too often regarding his/her own real lives to the world

                      Do you know that it's possible to get the social security numbers of many people?

                      Many associations (plural) routinely put their membership list online, and yes, with their member's social-security-number listed as well

                    • by ATMAvatar (648864)
                      Really, they just need to put their date of birth and address. Since many people do not move far from their birthplace, you can use those two pieces of information to extrapolate their social security number to within a couple digits.
              • by godel_56 (1287256) on Sunday March 04, 2012 @08:39PM (#39243519)

                As someone else said, your relatives/friends could mindlessly give away your information on Facebook or something such as that. Even just a name may be enough for someone to learn something revealing about you with a quick search

                When you do not reveal everything to your friends, colleagues, and even to your own family members, how much do you think they can reveal to the world about you?

                After all, the word "Privacy" came from "Private", and the most "Private" thing there is yourself - yes, your very own self

                I saw someone on TV on the weekend quoting figures that 30% of US companies said they would not hire a job applicant if they saw a picture of them holding a glass of wine on a social media web site. So all it takes is some dickhead labelling a picture of you at a party on THEIR Facebook page, and they may have damaged your reputation for years.

                No action from you required

          • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 04, 2012 @06:59PM (#39242879)

            This is the difference between the US and the EU. In the US privacy is perhaps a commodity. In the EU it's a fundamental human right protected by the constution.

            • by Taco Cowboy (5327)

              This is the difference between the US and the EU. In the US privacy is perhaps a commodity. In the EU it's a fundamental human right protected by the constution

              In this world where data-mining is practised by almost everybody and their great-grand-mother, it does not matter if your privacy is protected by whatever "constitution", if you keep on revealing who you are to the world, then the world will know about you, and they will know something about you that you yourself haven't yet realized

            • by epyT-R (613989)

              hahahahah.. riiight.. until your government lackies hand over your data to the US government (or its corporations) like the lapdogs they are..

      • by epyT-R (613989)

        that's not true. we had a lot more privacy because ubiquitous surveillance was expensive so it could only be applied to a few people at a time.. of course, we made up for that by spreading paranoia about the capabilities of 'dear leaders' to compensate.

        • I think the point he's trying to convey is that in a small town, everyone knows everyone's business. There was no privacy.
          Sure, the data didn't get to the corporate overlords as they didn't exist, and the feudal overlords didn't care they just wanted their due. No one farther than two towns over even cares so the information doesn't spread, but there was no real privacy.

      • by plover (150551) *

        Nonsense. Privacy used to be an absolute. You could quite easily prove you were alone. Go in the middle of a field with a companion and simply look around. Have your conversation. It would go unnoticed and unrecorded. It was private because it couldn't have been anything else.

        Now, I can't walk down the street without various buildings' cameras watching my every coming and going. Middle of a field? Assuming I can get to one without scrutiny, my companion could be recording the conversation. My own cl

      • We spent thousands of years with no privacy whatsoever.

        INCORRECT. We've spent thousands of years in relative obscurity, one had to make a monumental effort to be noticed; fame has always gone hand-in-hand with wealth, as one of those rare, difficult acheivables. Well, the price of fame has plummeted like a rock.
        We've never needed to be really concerned with privacy, getting information up to now has been realtively expensive, so privacy was easy. We now live in a different age, and privacy is the commodity. Your looking at the situation with an inverse lens.
        If

      • Re:I believe so. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by grcumb (781340) on Sunday March 04, 2012 @11:10PM (#39244147) Homepage Journal

        We spent thousands of years with no privacy whatsoever. The idea that we ever had some fanciful idea called "personal privacy" is largely a myth.

        I've seen this chestnut trotted out before, but it's not as pertinent as a lot of people would like to think.

        I live in the developing world in a locale where personal privacy is largely as it was 3000 years ago when these islands were first settled. I can assure you that a digital society that records your every action with perfect accuracy is not at all like village life.

        Yes, it's true that everyone here knows everybody else's business. It's not at all unusual for me to meet someone in the street whom I haven't seen in months, and they'll already know what I've been up to earlier in the day. Buildings here are not designed to suppress sound (it's the tropics, don't you know), so you actually have to make an effort to ignore some of the things that happen next door.

        But the local culture has long adapted to these circumstances. Privacy is actually jealously protected, not only by the individuals, but by their neighbours. They'll gossip like crazy, but they will not, for example, let a person's drunken weekend spree come into consideration when they're applying for work.

        Most importantly of all, government and police are not given carte blanche access to their collective knowledge.

        In short, there's a world of difference between a place without privacy and a surveillance society. Let's be clear that in this case we're talking about the latter.

      • by sjames (1099)

        No, we spent thousands of years with a different sort of privacy. For most of history, a day's walk was enough to become completely anonymous. You were whoever you said you were. Nobody thought much about a right to start over because there was no way to prevent anyone from starting over at any time. If you were a peasant, even the king would just have to take your word for who you were if you weren't in your home village.

        More recently, there was in theory a permanent record, but it was scattered around. Ye

      • Until very recently, it was very hard to get private data on anyone else than the roughly 500 people you would encounter most of your life. If you'd move to the next town, only a few people would know just a little about you. If you moved a bit further, you'd be a stranger amongst strangers. It's not since we started automating our records that we have had a real serious problem.

        Keeping records may sound nice, but what purpose does the record hold? If you don't really absolutely need the information, you
    • Re:I believe so. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Zaelath (2588189) on Sunday March 04, 2012 @06:10PM (#39242543)
      People seem confused in the differences between "I do nothing illegal" and "I have nothing to hide". If you like to cross dress you most certainly have something to hide from your biker mates, or the chaps at the tennis club, or your patients at the dental surgery, or pretty much anyone else that doesn't enjoy your subculture. Yet there's nothing illegal there.
      • by Dunbal (464142) * on Sunday March 04, 2012 @06:24PM (#39242655)

        People seem confused in the differences between "I do nothing illegal" and "I have nothing to hide".

        Exactly. I suggest that all those who equate wanting privacy with being criminals be forced to carry out their personal necessities like bathing, grooming and using the restroom on national television. We can call it the "but you've got nothing to hide you dumb shit" show.

    • Nah (Score:5, Funny)

      by Colin Smith (2679) on Sunday March 04, 2012 @06:10PM (#39242547)

      Chill. Entropy wins every time.

    • People care about privacy in the same way they always have, when it affects them. They don't want the world to know they were out walking with their mistress, but they don't care if people know they were walking with their wife.

      It's hard for people to understand what is wrong with their browsing habits being collected automatically, especially when they don't see how it affects them. And a lot of people have no problem declaring to the world their strange fetishes [penny-arcade.com].
      • Some people just don't want the government wasting time and money spying on them. And they don't want that same government wasting their time and money using businesses like facebook and google and whatever to spy on them. And they don;t want businesses to spy on them because it's none of their d**** business.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by phantomfive (622387)
          And some people are tired of every story, and every political movement, and everything else trying to get us outraged over something or another.

          Chill people, the world is a pretty good place.
          • by epyT-R (613989)

            Chill people, the world is a pretty good place.

            applying your subjective experience to everyone else, in spite of differing experiences and environments, is arrogant to say the least..

    • Is there anything we can do to win the PR war on privacy?
      • Maybe.

        We would need to have a Privacy Explosion so epic, we whisper it in the same tones as the Godwin subject. Right now it's all "leaking", and "mostly contained", but suppose absolutely everyone had the entire dataset on everyone else, through some kind of nuclear grade data blunder.

        I'd see a shift in fashion to consumer "privacy suits" with faces completely hidden.

    • People tend to confuse "anonymity" with "privacy". The US government and anyone else willing to invest the time has had the ability to gather data about an individual way before the Internet was even born. It just took longer to compile the information. Some readily accessible sources of information includes public utility bills, drivers license's, property titles, vehicle titles, credit history, marriage licenses, school registrations information at all levels, and of course tax related information. None

    • "Many people just don't seem to care about privacy any more. "

      It's not just that, it's that the internet was never designed with privacy in mind to begin with. The cost of maintaining privacy are huge because just the act of communication on a digital network can be de-anonymized quickly because of the nature of electronic communication. No one predicted the internet would get to be what it was. So much of it's infrastructure was never designed with privacy or security in mind. Think about how encryptio

  • by Richard_at_work (517087) <richardprice.gmail@com> on Sunday March 04, 2012 @05:57PM (#39242455)

    Not entirely sure about the reference to the UK, as we have some of the best data protection laws there are.

  • by PessimysticRaven (1864010) on Sunday March 04, 2012 @05:59PM (#39242479) Homepage

    I take serious issue with anything that implies a person's problem is because of "The Internet." Like the poster above (and many more to come, I bet), people simply don't care anymore. If the Internet can be held responsible for anything, anymore, it's enabling people that are so desperate for attention, they need to inform others of every minutiae of their life.

    Or I could have simply interpreted the title incorrectly; it is a silly thing.

    • by Fluffeh (1273756)

      people simply don't care anymore

      You shouldn't mistake the apathy at something that isn't seen to directly influence them with a proper agreement when it does come to bite them personally. Most people are so intoxicated with their own importance or so sheep-like that they do not see how many laws passed to protect them can be later misused against them. I do however find that many people, once informed properly do take umbrage to what is happening.

      I think that we need to stop calling people out on their apathy while showing the same toward

  • by multiben (1916126) on Sunday March 04, 2012 @06:01PM (#39242495)
    Just try shutting down your facebook account and then answer this question. My fingerprints are smeared all over the internet mainly because of Facebook alone. The cat is out of the bag and no matter what I do I can't get it back in. I don't really have much to hide, but man I shudder for those that do.
  • The irony (Score:5, Funny)

    by kakyoin01 (2040114) on Sunday March 04, 2012 @06:02PM (#39242501)

    Anyone else find it ironic that an anonymous reader submitted an article about losing privacy?

  • by Skapare (16644) on Sunday March 04, 2012 @06:07PM (#39242529) Homepage

    I am called Skapare. I've been called Skapare since I played text MUD games online. I do my best to annoy Slashdotters. My phone runs Android. So now I guess everyone knows everything there is to know about me.

  • by Wolfling1 (1808594) on Sunday March 04, 2012 @06:09PM (#39242533) Journal
    I quite like the notion that advertising companies are relatively smart about targetting ads for me. Actually, I'm looking forward to the opportunity to register my interests in a central database that helps me mould and shape my advertising experiences. To me, this seems to be a logical progression - and would put a lot of the control of my personal information back in my own hands.

    The problem as I see it is about the value (or price) of privacy. There have not been sufficient legal precedents to put a dollar value on this stuff, and that is the only thing that large corporations will respect. I suspect that many people will stop being so high and mighty about their privacy when they discover that it is only worth 47 cents.
    • I suspect that many people will stop being so high and mighty about their privacy when they discover that it is only worth 47 cents.

      If only that were the case. I would GLADLY pay 47 cents a week to opt out of all the tracking databases. Not the "we still collect your data but just won't show you targetted ads" opt-out, but "log everything to /dev/null" opt-out.

      Personally I don't see how facebook alone can be valued at $100B if an individuals' privacy is only worth 47 cents. Even at 47cents/week with a billion users that still works out to revenue of $25B/yr - that's before any costs and the comeptition from the other 100+ or so "less

      • If only that were the case. I would GLADLY pay 47 cents a week to opt out of all the tracking databases.

        Except for the database that tracks you paid your 47 cents.
        I wonder how much THAT data breach would be worth? ;)
        You see how this goes? This is why Do Not Call registries are so much political idiocy. Canada's was and is a joke. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Do_Not_Call_List [wikipedia.org]

        The politicians are proposing "Don't think about elephants."
        In reality it's "Best block, no be there."

    • by Unipuma (532655)

      You do realize that targeted advertising can be to your detriment as well, right?

      Because if a company knows more about you, they can also find out how much you are willing to pay for their goods and services, and tailor their prices to your profile. Which could also mean they raise the price they show to you, if you have a good income. It's called dynamic pricing, and you can be sure that central database will feed into the algorithms.

  • by Apothem (1921856) on Sunday March 04, 2012 @06:09PM (#39242537)
    I don't think it'd bother us as much if we knew EXACTLY what data they were collecting. Perhaps a policy of some kind when a company is collecting information, they would have to show a sample of what the collected information would look like and how it would be protected. If you think about it, if there is physical proof that your information isn't as identifiable as everyone may think it is, it would probably put a lot of fear at ease. Especially if one knew that the stuff that would make anon data identifiable was missing as a whole.
  • Profit (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Jazari (2006634) on Sunday March 04, 2012 @06:21PM (#39242627)
    While the corporations that use our data have profited much, so have users. I certainly have profited *hugely* from Google's free search engine, free email, free Docs service, free apps on iPhone and Android, etc. I guess some people also consider that they've profited from whatever benefits Facebook and Twitter offer as well.

    The real problem is that the information that these companies accumulate can be captured by the government, and that the logs may go back years (or forever)...
  • Straw man (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mauriceh (3721) <maurice.harddata@com> on Sunday March 04, 2012 @06:24PM (#39242659) Homepage

    Are we so stupid that we do not see Microsoft and Apple spread rubbish like this to attack Google?
    They like the old order where they were kings.

    If you are concerned and worried about your privacy, start at home with your government.

  • by mindcandy (1252124) on Sunday March 04, 2012 @06:26PM (#39242673)
    It wasn't "lost" nor was it "taken" .. you traded it for better prizes (free search, free storage, whatever).
    • It wasn't "lost" nor was it "taken" .. you traded it for better prizes (free search, free storage, whatever).

      Since by far most people don't even realize that a trade is being made, or if they do, they have only a cursory understanding of the exchange, I'd say "swindled" is the appropriate term here.

    • No, it was "lost". There was no "trading", as there was (and is) no "informed consent" in any meaningful sense of the word.
    • I would love to subscribe to Google, if they would promise not to track me or mandate UI constraints for me in return.

      Google makes a fairly low amount of revenue per user, almost everyone on the internet would have no trouble paying it, if the micropayment and subscriber infrastructure were in place for that to happen.
  • In the eyes of evil people, even the most innocent actions can be twisted into something nefarious or vile.

  • my e-mail is my own. I don't use google, nor facebook and that's why. in fact, the only place I give anything to is right here like this. oh, and my browser agent string is also generic -- not that I'm proxied or anything.

    so my privacy, and my expectation of privacy, remains in tact, just as it did before the internet, when I was 8. though I can't say how many others have chosen to publish my information against my wishes, but I'm not legally responsible for that.

    • by multiben (1916126)
      That's a very naive view. Your privacy remains intact until one day one of your friends or business contacts accidentally or deliberately forwards on a private email. Once that happens good luck getting it back. It happens every day.
      • that doesn't make me legally responsible for it. so my "expectation of privacy" remains legally intact, and I'm not in breech of any NDAs. my actualy privacy matters much less than my legal expectation of privacy.

  • Ironic to have Guardian journalists complaining about privacy. Not only are they as guilty as most of the UK press in phone hacking, their paper is full of links to Facebook.

    This article brought to you by the newspaper that condemns rich people avoiding tax, and hedge funds -- whilst being almost entirely funded by an hedge fund operating from the Caymans.
  • by WiiVault (1039946) on Sunday March 04, 2012 @06:51PM (#39242833)
    With the continued backlog of potentially negative data soon to be facing young-adults as they leave childhood and enter the job market, I expect Facebook will bring about an era where name changes upon adulthood become common place. Of course some people will go ahead and be stupid with their new identities too as many do now. But what other option will today's kids have to remove affiliations from their latest Beiber hate rant of drunken high school tweet?
  • Here in the US the political season is already starting. Just as it has been for decades, we're getting robocalls from the various candidates. I also get many credit card offers every week with my name on the envelope and pleas from the alumni association to send money. Privacy? What's that?
  • by dbet (1607261)
    How are companies making money from mining data? It seems like anyone who might actually want that data could very easily just mine it themselves.
  • We didn't lose it, we gave it away.*

  • It's not only a problem from the privacy standpoint, but also in terms of what kind of behaviour it encourages, from online services to journalism.

    The paywalled model is utterly ridiculous for the internet and the ad/privacy supported model is utterly destructive. What we need is a honors system like paying for deadtree newspapers (except with user selectable amounts). It does not eliminate ads, but generates enough revenue to act as a counterweight, that makes it easier for the business owner to care abo
  • I am a bit worried about the generation of kids in high school and younger now.

    In particular kids need an education about Facebook and Twitter, which feel personal but are really public, before they start using it.

  • In the case of many services, you are getting something free (Gmail) in exchange for a certain amount of data about yourself. I'm not quite sure what all the FUD about lost privacy is.

    If you want privacy, you are free within the market to pay the going price for a secure POP3, IMAP, or Exchange e-mail account and the various rates are reasonable dependent on your need for the service.

    I would agree that people give up a lot of privacy, voluntarily and stupidly, namely on Facebook. This is not because of th

  • As a specialist in computer security, one of the first things we learn is that "security by obscurity" is the worst possible way of achieving security. There never has been such a thing as true privacy and there never will be. Everything leaves a trace one way or another, that's physics. What paranoiacs don't understand is that nobody cares. ( or perhaps that's what they fear most ) A perfect example is an older friend of mine, who soon after discovering email, came to constantly with his/her troubling dis
  • by dtjohnson (102237) on Sunday March 04, 2012 @11:32PM (#39244275)

    5 years ago, you were considered a little nutty if you ranted about the loss of privacy on the internet. Now, in 2012, people are finally starting to realize that 1) loss of privacy on the internet has big consequences and 2) loss of privacy is not mandatory or required to use the internet. Those 'free' email addresses on gmail or hotmail are not really free but are paid for with your personal information and...that price is high.

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