I'll say it until I'm blue in the face

Post ImageThere is no privacy on the web.

Early this morning, Robert Scoble’s Facebook account was disabled because he violated their terms of service by scraping data from the site. That caused a flood of a posts from people saying that either Scoble was wrong or that Facebook got what it deserved. Most people siding with Scoble said that as he owns his data, not Facebook, he was in the right. He should be able to do with it whatever he wishes. Except that he doesn’t own all the data. Would his friends be happy to find out that he was taking their data elsewhere without their knowledge?

Not that it matters. It should be a non-issue. If everyone realized the truth – there is no privacy on the web – no one would be up-in-arms about the whole situation.

Sure there is something to be said about Facebook only sharing data when it makes good business sense for them to do so. Some might say that’s evil, others might say that’s business. Either way, it all boils down to privacy. Facebook gives you the impression that your data is secure, but it really isn’t.

There is no privacy on the web.

Scott Karp rightly points out that data is power. He suggests a war will be fought over control of data. I wonder though, if such a war can ever have a victor? Does Scoble own the data in his account? Does Facebook? What about his friends, don’t they own some of it? What about advertisers, surely they own some of it? Other companies? I think it’s a pointless battle. There’s far too much entanglement.

Forget trying to control the data. Let it flow freely. Forget trying to keep things secret. If there’s something that must be kept private, don’t post it on the web.

There is no privacy on the web.

Don’t fool yourself into thinking you’re safe. With each passing day we give up a little bit more privacy than the last. The bottom line is that we almost always choose convenience over privacy, whether we know it or not. There’s a reason that concepts like identity theft didn’t really exist a hundred years ago. We share more information about ourselves now than individuals did back then, and we think nothing of it. Of course, accessing and distributing that information is easier than ever too, thanks in large part to the Internet.

Everything you think you know about privacy in the physical world is meaningless in the virtual world. The rules of the game are completely different.

There is no privacy on the web.

Read: Techmeme

2 thoughts on “I'll say it until I'm blue in the face

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