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Privacy Schizophrenia

May 29, 2010 10:06:08.950

On the one hand, you have people worried that Facebook is exposing too much, and not giving users enough control over the process (never mind Zuckerburg's quite clear mindset on where privacy is headed). On the other hand, Facebook is still growing, and Foursquare has a million people per day "checking in" - i.e., letting the world now the minute details of where they are and what they are up to.

And then there's the dark side of all this - how third parties are trying to use that glut of information to learn more about you - and doing so incompetently:

One day, Greg was called in to see his manager and was told that his services would no longer be needed. He was asked to clear his desk and escorted from the building with no further explanation. His family hadn't even finished unpacking from the cross-country move, and Greg was faced with the shock of unemployment.

Thankfully, after some pushing Greg was able to learn that the company had fired him because the subsequent background check had uncovered a criminal background and outstanding warrants the company was unaware of. Of course, Greg was also unaware of the criminal background and outstanding warrants because the company had uncovered information on the wrong "Greg".

That's the sort of confused privacy world we live in. People are exposing more and more of their lives to the world, are vaguely worried about it, but keep doing it anyway for the immediate (perceived) benefits. I'm not sure where that's going to end up, but it's going to be different than it has been...

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posted by James Robertson

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