On… Online Privacy

Hello, welcome to my first tech-esque blogpost of the year.

So today we shall discuss an afterthought that I had from the 402 paper.

Is online privacy a generational issue?

Gut feeling: unless it’s Malware or Spyware, Gen Y isn’t gonna give a shit about the Internet having access to their data. Take for example the recent uproar about Instant Personalization by Facebook. (Not available to Asia yet) Advocates of Internet privacy argued that Facebook had overstepped its boundaries by sharing user data with other websites without the permission of users. (It’s an opt-in thing.) Facebook’s stand: they’re using information that’s already been made public.

A quick rundown of what “public information”:

  • Name
  • Profile pic
  • Gender
  • City
  • Networks
  • Friends list
  • Likes and interests
  • Fan pages

Most people that I’ve talked to don’t really care that such information is being shared. IMO if there’s nothing you have to hide there’s no harm sharing such info. I really wouldn’t mind if Pandora suggests a bunch of artistes that I might be interested in based on my tastes in music as indicated by my likes and interests / fan pages. I would also be interested to see places that friends have been tom and their reviews (if any) on TripAdvisor. I guess it would only be detrimental if I were some secret perv checking out the dark dingy alleys and idk, red light districts of certain dingy places, or I was a die hard fan of Miley and Bieber… but I guess this info would have to be out on Facebook anyway, for them to use it in the first place.

SO.

What’s the big deal?

With 600 million users on board I’m guessing a majority don’t bother tweaking privacy settings. In fact I only know a certain few who bother:

  • People like my good friend DickSwagger who, I guess, is trying to evade prior judgment by snoopers, by making his Facebook profile unsearchable for. You can get some inkling why he would want to do so by checking out his Twitter profile. I allow you to judge.
  • Influentials who would rather not have the general public viewing photos of themselves on vacation / in certain situations ie drunk at parties.
  • People like my parents who are skeptical about everything on the WWW.

So I doubt that many people would care about sharing information that just skims the surface of who they are. IMO As long as nothing is used to harm me and I have nothing to hide I’m totally willing to share such info. Especially if it helps companies better their offerings. I guess Facebook just has to ensure that third parties are contractually bound to make sure loopholes in codes don’t exist, so that no potential harm is exposed to users.

And life would just be fine and dandy. Yay.

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About stooffi

my name is steph. i love cute fluffy things and dancing. my interests include advertising, public relations and internet marketing. i hate writing about myself.

4 thoughts on “On… Online Privacy

  1. Judging by the amount of complaints people make whenever Facebook changes its privacy policy (eg recently, when the new profiles were introduced, we discovered that we could edit our friends’ interests on Facebook, like “sports”), I would say privacy IS very important and it still matters to a lot of people.

    Now whether it is a generational issue, I would say it depends on how you define “generational”. For example, there is already a big difference between people that are still in college and people who have graduated. My friends who graduated completely changed their FB privacy settings: only searchable by networks and friends of friends, pictures only available to certain lists, etc. And when you start working, you usually create a “Work” list, not giving your colleagues access to your pictures and wall posts.

    I don’t know about Asia, but in Europe, it is ultra common for employers to search for your name on Facebook before an interview, and if your wall is public or if certain pictures are available, they don’t see it as you being open and having nothing to hide, but rather as you not knowing how to control your privacy. So yes, I think people realize that their privacy is important, and there may be a generational clash between pre and post-graduation.

    -Natalie
    @natalietweetie

    • made a whole lot of sense! thanks for the input 🙂
      i think it’s common everywhere right now for employers to do a quick background check before interviewing someone.
      on a separate issue, does it bother you that “public info” is going out to 3rd party sites for commercial purposes?

      • Personally, yes it bothers me, that’s why I don’t allow Facebook to do it (Account Settings > Facebook Adverts > “None”).

        However, I think Instant Personalization is different, because the partners are so far limited, relevant (at least for me), and they’re supposed to provide users with a better experience when you visit them (whereas in the ads, your public info is used but you don’t get any benefits from it).

        I could see the advantage of turning the Instant Personalization on, because as you mentioned, I could get music recommendations on Pandora, etc. I don’t have access to it yet though, so I need to wait and see 🙂

        -Natalie

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