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Facebook Privacy Your Rights Online

Banking On Your Personal Online Data 106

Posted by timothy
from the but-the-action's-at-wholesale-not-retail dept.
snydeq writes "While privacy groups are working to lock away your personal data, a better — or perhaps supplementary — option may be to let you sell it for what it's really worth. 'Whether it's Facebook, Twitter, Google Drive, or Pinterest, the truth is the product is you — all that data about you used to target ads and sales pitches. It's hardly a new business model — it's how trade publications have made their money for decades — but in the online world all that information is easily stolen, traded, and spread. ... If the data has value — and we know it does — its creators (you and me) should be paid for it. And if we take over the selling of our data, all those companies using it now have to respect us and abide by our standards.'"
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Banking On Your Personal Online Data

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  • um, no (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 16, 2012 @08:11PM (#40347891)

    And if we take over the selling of our data, all those companies using it now have to respect us and abide by our standards.

    Uh, no they don't. This isn't magicalhippieland.

    • by Brucelet (1857158)
      Seconded. The idea of them playing by our rules is almost as laughable as us playing by theirs.
      • Re:um, no (Score:5, Interesting)

        by causality (777677) on Saturday June 16, 2012 @11:50PM (#40349051)

        Seconded. The idea of them playing by our rules is almost as laughable as us playing by theirs.

        Indeed. The idea that they will "respect us" is absurd. In their minds they have already stripped us of all humanity and made us into a dollar-denominated commodity just like so much furniture or livestock. This alienated, dehumanizing system which presupposes that anyone other than me should decide what my needs and wants are constitutes my major philosophical problem with the whole concept of marketing. That, plus the fact that no one has asked me if I consent to be tracked and marketed to, and my consent is assumed by default and this is a violation, is the minor philosophical reason why I block all ads from all sites.

        The major practical reason is that my data obviously has value to various companies, yet those companies have never approached me with a contract or other offer -- meanwhile they would call it "theft" if I took their properties (intellectual or material) without compensating them. This is garden-variety hypocrisy in an unusually obvious form. The minor practical reason is that advertising is the most biased source of information imaginable and therefore not good enough for me if I were actually making a purchasing decision.

        What these people do respect is scarcity. Even if it's artificial (like all intellectual property). The only way to create that is to have more and more informed users who know how the game is played well enough to understand how to stop playing it if they so choose. If an IP address is the most personal information of yours they can obtain, you're doing it correctly.


        As an aside, these "My Clean PC" morons? Even if I had a desire or a need that this product could satisfy (which I don't), the way they keep spamming where they are unwelcome would tell me everything I need to know about who they are and what kind of business dealings I could expect from them. They obviously subscribe to the "loud and annoying = sales!" school of marketing. That school needs to go extinct like all the rest of the dinosaurs, along with the idiotic people who reward it with money at the expense of themselves and everyone who has to deal with spam.

        • Offtopic - mydirtypc: If you go to the Privacy Policy link on their site, they give you a link to the Better Business Bureau. Here I guess many many people could lodge many many complaints. I was honestly just looking for the support email so I could sign them up for bestiality pr0n....

          Ontopic: I don't care much what people do with the data I post online. It is worth $0.00 to me, and not all of it is accurate anyway. If it did have value, I would not post it. Why the fuss? If someone can make money out of

        • by mikem170 (698970)
          I wonder if one could obtain a copyright on their own personal data, then anyone who stores a copy is in violation...
    • by AmiMoJo (196126)

      The Do Not Call list was a standard set out by society which all US companies must follow and which your agents enforce with what seems like considerable success. Don't think you are powerless, you can still make and enforce the rules.

  • by John Hasler (414242) on Saturday June 16, 2012 @08:18PM (#40347939) Homepage

    ...its creators ... should be paid for it.

    So you think you should pay for data created by businesses (eg, football scores, integrated circuit pinouts, instruction sets, financial statements)? You believe in copyright on information and data rather than just on creative expression?

    • by Seumas (6865)

      Exactly. I am no more the creator of data about myself that my bank and medical provider has than a tree is the creator of a painting I made of it. We are the subject of our data; not its creators. And while we should have control over it, the fact is that we don't and never will. Further, the idea that we should have the right to buy and sell it is silly. The value of your PRIVACY is far more important than the $10/yr you could get in the value of your DATA.

  • by gallondr00nk (868673) on Saturday June 16, 2012 @08:22PM (#40347963)

    When you sign up for these services, you're already tendering your personal information. The agreement is "you let me use this service, and I'll provide you with X information." Yes, it isn't an explicit agreement, but we all know how this works now.

    Like any commodity, your price is set by demand. Saying you want to sell your information for cash is fine, but when the price is already set by the fact there are millions of others signing up to the service for free then your bargaining posture is pretty weak.

    • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Saturday June 16, 2012 @09:11PM (#40348253)

      When you sign up for these services, you're already tendering your personal information. The agreement is "you let me use this service, and I'll provide you with X information." Yes, it isn't an explicit agreement, but we all know how this works now.

      You missed the point of the article. We are selling it now, but the market is ridiculously primitive. It is all take-it-or-leave-it, no options for negotiation and basically no transparency. For all intents and purposes we've replaced cash with personal information as the currency of online services.

      But where everybody pretty much knows the value of a dollar, few, if any, people have much of a grip on the value of their personal information. We know what it is, but we have no idea of what it can be used for in the hands of the people we trade it to. So essentially we are writing blank checks to pay for things like facebook and google.

      • Well would you and everyones' brother be willing to pay $5 a month to use Facebook?

        The answer would be hell no. People just are so used to annoying ads they do not care. Look at slashdot as an example? You can pay a tiny monthly fee to browser slashdot ad free. It is not that Cmd Taco (I believe he quit) is evil. It is that is costs money to host this site and have the people who work on it fulltime feed. The internet is not as free as it once was with telecom giants buying all the last mile wires and someo

        • Well would you and everyones' brother be willing to pay $5 a month to use Facebook?

          You missed the point of my post. This is not about paying cash versus paying with personal information. This is about properly valuing personal information.

          • Bingo. I don't use Facebook because it doesn't offer me anything I consider to be of equivalent value to my data (not to mention the fact that I don't like the way the company operates when it comes to privacy control). Google's services on the other hand, yes, they are worth it for me. So Google get my data, Facebook don't, Google makes a few cents from my data, Facebook doesn't get the "$800 per user/year" figure that's bandied about.
        • Well would you and everyones' brother be willing to pay $5 a month to use Facebook?

          The answer would be hell no. People just are so used to annoying ads they do not care. Look at slashdot as an example? You can pay a tiny monthly fee to browser slashdot ad free. It is not that Cmd Taco (I believe he quit) is evil. It is that is costs money to host this site and have the people who work on it fulltime feed. The internet is not as free as it once was with telecom giants buying all the last mile wires and someone has to pay the bills.

          People do put value and prefer ads otherwise 80% of us would actually pay to browse in which we choose not too. Facebook does make money from its ads. About 1 billion in revenue every year! It sure as hell not worth $100 billion. Advertising is a very lucrative market and industries like automotive are willing to include 1/3 the price of your car just towards advertising alone!

          Would those who do not use facebook, use it if they were paid $5 a month for the information they will inevitably give up? The question isnt how much people are willing to pay in order to not have their information used, but rather how much value their information is worth and how much business will pay u for it. Currently facebook is re-selling ur information and in return offering an online computer services via hardware and bandwidth for free. Its pretty obvious that they amount they pay in order to prov

      • by pepty (1976012)

        You missed the point of the article. We are selling it now, but the market is ridiculously primitive. It is all take-it-or-leave-it, no options for negotiation and basically no transparency. For all intents and purposes we've replaced cash with personal information as the currency of online services

        What I don't get is how outfits like Personal.com that claim to provide a way to control and sell your information have any more control of your data than you do. Google still has your data. Facebook still

      • by DogDude (805747)
        "No transparency"?

        Sure, there's transparency. There's total transparency. Everything you enter into your GMail account is property of Google. Everything you enter into your Facebook account is property of Facebook.
        • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Sunday June 17, 2012 @07:27AM (#40350593)

          Sure, there's transparency. There's total transparency. Everything you enter into your GMail account is property of Google. Everything you enter into your Facebook account is property of Facebook.

          I think you just proved my point.

          A hell of a lot of more than that is collected about you. Every page with a facebook like button on it reports back to facebook that you browsed there. Same thing with all of those web pages that use googleapis.com - pages that you have no idea are ratting you out to google. And that is just the tip of the iceberg. Go install Ghostery [ghostery.com] to get a feel of just how much your online life is being spied on by companies you've never even heard of.

      • Plus its one of those things that the market has a hard time finding the correct value of. To Google it might be a couple of dollars, to me its more like ten grand a month.

    • And as I didn't sign up for the services and don't use them, I'm supposed to feel somehow protected.

      But not only do I have to use Ghostery or a similar script killer, but I can't really use google and a wide variety of services.

      Those that choose to be tracked and thrown into the hadoop mosh pit get what they deserve. It's not a quid pro quo. It's you let them do you for free, or you get money (or consideration for it) or you simply flip the bird and walk away. So I walk away.

  • by Superdarion (1286310) on Saturday June 16, 2012 @08:34PM (#40348039)

    But we are being paid for it. With google's services, for instance. Our product is our information and I think Google pays us handsomely for it with their search engine alone.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Take Facebook for example, we struck a bargain for their services, they then broke that bargain and reduced the privacy level. You get committed to a service like FB, and there is a penalty to you for leaving it. All that data, all those contacts were trusted with FB.

      So when FB screw you over, you have to bend over and take it.

      So it's not like a "service for loss of privacy" contract, it's more a scam-artist approach.

    • Wrt search, Google is getting handsomely compensated for it by their search ads. So, we don't have to pay for it through our information. Our intent (which we disclose through the search term) is enough.

  • by devnullkac (223246) on Saturday June 16, 2012 @08:40PM (#40348063) Homepage

    Have we learned nothing from the evil corporate empires that feed us our culture in click-wrapped agreements? Don't sell your personal data... license it! And sue the bastards to death if they share it with anyone else!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 16, 2012 @08:42PM (#40348073)

    "Our social space online has moved from the public square to the shopping mall.

    From the public sphere where we can fight for our rights and influence the laws and bylaws that govern our conduct, where we can engage in civil disobedience when we oppose the rules, to the private sphere, where we have no rights, and can be expelled and excluded at the pleasure of the private owners of the platforms.

    Today, if somebody is hosting content that somebody else objects to, that content is not likely to be hosted by a server they control, but rather by a commercial social platform. Such content can be removed with no due process, with no recognition of the rights and liberties of both parties, simply the unilaterally imposed rules of the platform operator.

    In the case that the content is controversial, and the objecting party is powerful, the operator has strong incentive to remove it, and very little incentive to put themselves at risk to keep the content online.

    The powerful interest that wish to control content online no longer need coersive laws to do so, they simply need co-operation from the platform owners. Such co-operation is happily provided by most operators, and is often even a precondition of their financing.

    Commercialization has made online rights irrelevant

    The world where “anyone, anywhere may express his or her beliefs, no matter how singular, without fear of being coerced into silence or conformity” can not exist on Facebook, and can not be built by capital."

    - @dmytri

  • by Tim the Gecko (745081) on Saturday June 16, 2012 @09:07PM (#40348227)
    What are the two factors that make telephone companies stupid, evil and bureaucratic? Billing and regulation. With Facebook, Gmail, Flickr, etc., we've lucked into a world with no billing (advertising pays), and not too much regulation.

    snydeq's proposal seems to open the way to a world where the money flow takes on a life of its own (huge departments keeping track of who gets what), with an inevitable regulatory tidal wave sweeping in soon after the first agreement is signed.

    What would be scary is how little I may be valued. I'm not buying a car soon, I can't drink alcohol, and I am socially inept with zero spending on Cialis. It seems like the MLB should stop me watching the World Series for free.
    • It seems like the MLB should stop me watching the World Series for free.

      The first hit is always free. Sure we'll give you some local stations for free so you get a taste for TV, then you can buy into cable to expand your experience. The interesting thing is that cable is something that should be free too, so the television stations get more revenue from their ads, and the cable company should get a cut from the ads. I think the demand for the average public to watch TV is too high, and this allows the
    • by RDBinns (2453648)
      I agree. Targeted advertising will eventually give way to targeted service quality. It's only so long before they realise that I never click on their ads. Apparently BT (UK telecoms provider) used to moniter who made the most/least calls. The most talkative people were deemed to be more important in spreading word-of-mouth, so received better customer service. Those who made less calls were deemed low-priority and received worse service.
  • Cha-ching (Score:4, Insightful)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Saturday June 16, 2012 @10:24PM (#40348615)

    And if we take over the selling of our data, all those companies using it now have to respect us and abide by our standards.

    That's adorable. You think corporations respect you. Nothing could be further from the truth. You are a means to an end, nothing more. Specifically, money. They'll do anything for money, and since they have way more of it than you, it's you that will be going to them for everything, not the other way around. You want that cell phone? Surrender your personal data. Car? Personal data, please. Internet access? Groceries? Housing? Furniture?

    Capitalism without restraint leads to depotism.

  • The saddest part about your personal information--your privacy--being bought and sold by third parties is that it is not, actually, worth very much. The way corporations like Google or Facebook make it worthwhile is they sell TENS OF MILLIONS of potential customers at a time. Even if one did take control of the market for their own personal info how much do you think you could make? A few cents a transaction maybe? A couple of bucks tops if you're in a really coveted demographic? The true amount is probably
  • by jhobbs (659809) on Saturday June 16, 2012 @11:13PM (#40348867)
    I'll happily share anything and everything advertisers want to know about me if I could ever just get ads that were relevant to me. As an example, Hulu gave me ads for diapers, Charter Cable Internet, and Gucci Cologne in the last show I watched. Charter isn't in my area, I hate kids (and I'm gay so the odds of an accidental one are near zero), and I buy unscented everything. Facebook's targeted ads are just as awful. I mean, its like no one wants my money. And with no wife or kids and my own business I have plenty of it to spend.
    • by ffflala (793437)
      Hulu at least does have an option to help them with ad customization. In the upper right corner of each ad is a dialog that reads "is this ad relevant to you? yes/no"

      Selecting "no" on the least relevant ads does seem to reduce them, though not immediately nor completely. I'm not sure what "yes" does, because personally I hate ads and don't want to encourage any of them.
      • by jhobbs (659809)
        Unfortunately, I have to watch on my computer to be able to provide that feedback. I generally only watch Hulu on my living room television. The only time my feedback ever changed the ads I received was when I wrote to them over the eHarmony ads I was receiving. I complained about the ads because I didn't want to see ads from a company with an anti-gay history(1,2,3). I will say, however, after I wrote, they responded promptly saying they would forward the complaint to marketing and I never saw the ads a
        • by ffflala (793437)
          Ah, I don't have a separate television and I didn't realize you can't customize ads unless you were at a computer. I'd heard of the eHarmony anti-gay bigotry; I'd also heard that they reject atheists. Fuck that fucking company.

          Anyway I've had limited success with customizing Hulu ads. For example, about half of the ads I get are for car insurance and/or cars -- I haven't owned a car since 2006. Since car share services like car2go and Zipcar more than meet my car needs, and are cheaper, more reliable, and
          • by jhobbs (659809)
            I will say this, Hulu is a much better solution than Cable and a Tivo. I just wish they would put a little more effort into targeting ads. This probably has as much to do with the advertisers as anything. I'm sure after a half century of television advertising models, the advertisers till tag their ads as "Gender", "Region", "Time of day" or something similar. Perhaps as ad targeting evolves, both advertisers and media companies will relize the benefits of specific targeting.

            Instead of expensive blank
  • You're already being paid for your personal information.

    You're being paid with access to Farmville, or other Facebook features, or whatever.

    I thought this was obvious to everyone.

  • by martin-boundary (547041) on Sunday June 17, 2012 @02:05AM (#40349531)
    I for one welcome this idea, and I move to extend it to its logical conclusion. I *also* want to be able to sell my wife(1), my kids(2), and my kidneys(3) if I want to, too. It's too hard to think about enforcing all those arbitrary rules, let's just let the market decide(4)!

    1) The neighbour stups her already when I'm in the office, so there's a market. I should be compensated in money terms.

    2) There's that paedophile I see every day in the park, so there's a market. It's inevitable he'll grab my 7 year old anyway, I should be compensated in money terms.

    3) The rich old woman down the street really needs a kidney. She might just get lucky on the waiting list, so I want to get in on the action now. She'll pay anything!

    4) I really need the money! Honest!

  • Then sue anyone reporting bad credit history about you. Profit!!!
  • You don't SELL your personal information. You LICENSE it and charge for yearly updates.

    Plus it comes with DRM that requires you to be logged into my server while you use it.

    And the whole process is patented.

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