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As I read on the plane tonight, I was excited to see the FTC talking about a "do not track" option for all web browsers. Mike Zapler of the San Jose Mercury News says:
"The commission is proposing to mandate a "do not track" setting on Web browsers, which would take an act of Congress to impose. Its proposal -- the strongest privacy protection it has advocated to date -- comes amid building momentum for the government to do something to ensure consumer privacy in the online world."
I think this is great. Yes, I know that so much of the "free" on the web is because we are giving up our privacy. There is really no such thing as free, after all. Somehow I wonder if "free" will come with a price of privacy and we'll actually have to pay for the right to be private as our money may have to supplant the advertising revenue we give up.
Mobile Phone Privacy: Should We Be Concerned?
Meanwhile, with mobile advertising revenue projected to reach almost $3 billion in the US by 2014 it makes me wonder if perhaps this move is late as in some ways, our cell phones are the new foraging ground for privacy. I wonder if privacy would extend to the data on our mobile phones?
I think that we all have much more sensitive data on our cell phones than even our computers.
Take These Terms or... Take these Terms
Here's the thing. With terms of service we have one option - accept the terms of service and use the service or don't accept the terms of service and don't use the service - there is no "privacy enabled" option and perhaps there should be.
I don't have anything to hide, however, I do think I, my children, and family are giving out lots of details that are really "TMI" - (too much information) and if it were collated and put together it would just be that -- TOO MUCH INFORMATION. When my 9 year old surfs should what he does be gleaned to target him more closely?
Right now it is a privacy free for all with companies tracking everything they can. I know that for me, I'm a privacy noob. In fact, tonight my friend Clif Mims let me know that someone friended him on Twitter who is using MY profile photograph. It is an old one, but yes, it is me!
Join Facebook Or You Can't Report Someone for Stealing Your Identity
I had a student who HAD to join facebook because someone was using her photo as their facebook profile pic along with lots of profanity and lewdness on their page. Facebook wouldn't let her complain UNLESS she had a profile and could PROVE that the picture was not her (by uploading several pics including that one.) That is completely ridiculous. I shouldn't have to join something in order to edge someone out from claiming to me me and neither should my student. If a high school student wants to not join facebook, she should be able to protect her privacy. Her friends couldn't report it - no one could do anything - SHE HAD to join.
That is Me! Give Me Back!
We need our privacy protected but we also need rights to our own photographs. We need to be able to have choices to NOT join services or perhaps to be able to join services with options for understanding what is truly being collected on us.
Don Tapscott calls privacy "the achilles heel of the Net Generation" when in fact I think it is perhaps the blind spot of our whole society.
We don't know what we don't know.
Perhaps if we knew what we didn't know we might be a little more concerned. The fact is we just don't know what data is being collected and stored about us and our children and therein lies the problem.