When Does Online Privacy Not Matter Anymore?

Are we becoming a nation or a society that is devaluing certain aspects of online privacy? As more and more of our lives become intertwined with online networks we become desensitized as to what is private and what is not. Take for example the liberties or assumptions that Live-Hive would like with your personal information.

CtoCloud Application is requesting permission to:
  • Manage your contacts
  • Manage your calendars
  • View basic information about your account
  • View and manage any of your documents and files in Google Drive
  • View your email address
  • Perform these operations when I’m not using the application

What is private? What is personal? What is sharable? Depending on what your beliefs are,  the bar for leveraging the usage of a service against what is indeed your personal IP and private data has either been lowered or raised.

Some of you won’t care, others might walk away and still others will click yes like they do a EULA and be done with it. None of us care until it directly affects and impacts us. That’s sad.

On Trust and Children in Social Networks

So I’m at my 12 year old daughter’s softball game last Friday night and as the game is concluding I reach for my cellphone and I see a text from my wife it reads:

Your daughter is on Facebook”?

I text back

She better not be”.

As I’m waiting for her to emerge from the dugout, I decide to call my wife who is in Ohio for the weekend for my nephew’s first communion. The first words out of her mouth are that her sister Terry tried to “Friend” my daughter on Facebook. I was shocked and stunned. But there were some legit reasons why. Here’s 4 of them.

1) Not 2 weeks prior to this happening, I was on television and in front of a live audience, as well as members of the school board, explaining why I did not see the point in children (freshman to sophomores on down) using Facebook, let alone a social network at all. They’re too young.

2) I had explained to those that attended, how important it was to monitor your childrens online activities.

3) I had outlined how important it was, to explain the implications of privacy and what can happen when you are “out” there to your children.

4) My daughter saw the event on television

Apparently I suck at drinking my own koolaid. I did not do a good enough job of monitoring my child’s online activities. I took for granted that my straight A’s student, great athlete, daughter would never violate the trust that I thought we had. She had asked previously if she could get a Facebook account and I said no and I explained why.

Here’s the cautionary tale.

  • First off, I felt completely betrayed by my daughter,
  • Facebook has no idea of the challenges that parents face.
  • Even “good” kids will do what their ‘friends” tell them to do and what their parents tell them not to.
  • My daughter knew she wasn’t supposed to be on, but her friends told her to set up an account.
  • As smart as my daughter thinks she is, and yes she is,  she still set the account up wrong, but luckily she had not put “that much” info out there.
  • There were dozens of other “friends” waiting for her to “friend” them back. Dozens.
  • Those other “friends”, were no older than 13, but the majority were younger than 13. That means that they worked around the so-called age limit to join Facebook.
  • Children have no clue what privacy settings are and how to set them up on Facebook.

So what’s my point? I supposedly was monitoring my daughter’s online activities. I live, eat, breath and sleep this social media stuff, and yet she did it while my wife and I were down the street trying to hit tennis balls.

The parents of the others that I saw on there? Chances are, they do not live, eat and breathe social media. I bet if I were to at least look at the privacy settings of those accounts, 90% of them would be wide open. That’s a problem. One of many.

As social networks and mobile phones continue to evolve, and as the age of innocence continues to evaporate, and entry into owning a phone continues to be lowered-issues about content, behavior, ignorance, and privacy on social networks are going to continue to escalate and magnify. Take it from me, or maybe not…

The relationship viewed as transactional

As January 2010 slowly slips away I’m struck by thwo things I’ve read today, actually 3. Lets back up a week to add some context to what I’m about to say. On January 8th  Mark Zuckerberg the founder and CEO of Facebook made the following comment:

If he were to create Facebook again today, user information would by default be public, not private…

Here is the full blown article as found on ReadWriteWeb: Facebook’s Zuckerberg Says The Age of Privacy is Over

Following that admission, Shel Israel and I had an exchange on Twitter that started with this from Shell…

At which point I said:

@shelisrael Agree. I know I’m pigeonholing here but millenials have a different notion of what privacy is or should be..

To which Shell responded”

@Marc_Meyer I don’t know if you’ve asked Millenials how they feel about privacy. I think you should ask them b4 making a blanket statement.

and…

Would you see it the same, if FB also started posting street addresses? phone #s? SSN? How about photos of kids? Does he decide? 10:38 AM Jan

and…

It would depress me greatly to think an entire generation had lost a sense of privacy. That would be Orwellian.

My point in all of this? Mark Zuckerberg comes from a different place, he operates in a different space. Millenials treat privacy differently and so does he. I’m not making a blanket statement as much as I’m referring to Zuckerberg, who is a millenial, and who has created a completely different notion of what privacy is and should be. Relationships and privacy mean different things to Zuckerberg.

Now lets take danah boyd who says:

Publicity has value and, more importantly,  folks are very conscious about when something is private and want it to remain so. When the default is private, you have to think about making something public. When the default is public, you become very aware of privacy. And thus, I would suspect, people are more conscious of privacy now than ever. Because not everyone wants to share everything to everyone else all the time.”

Yes, but here is why I titled this post the relationship viewed as transactional.  As danah has so accurately stated, publicity has value. As a society we have always been attracted by and to celebrity, be it as tragedy, comedy or otherwise. Our society devours celebrities as three squares a day. Because of this,  and because of the social web, that potential for celebrity exists at every turn. But it comes at a cost in 2 forms. One form is what we hope to gain from that transaction and the other comes in the form of what we give up or are willing to part with. Look at it as a deal with the devil if you will.

We like our privacy but we love our 15 minutes of fame. In fact we love it so much that Josh Harris, of internet shooting star fame stated:

Andy Warhol said that, in the future, everyone will be famous for 15 minutes,” Harris told me. “But I think he misunderstood what was happening. I think what people are demanding is 15 minutes of fame every day. And mark my words, they will get it. That’s where we’re heading, whether we like it or not.”

Relationships as transactions. We might not admit it, but what the social web has created is an unstated platform for every social interaction to have the potential to catapult one at best, into a cult of personality. In fact I would venture that though most might not admit, but part of their social strategy is to be “found” or to create a connection that results in…yep you guessed it, some type of transaction..Disingenuous? It depends on who you ask.

The upside/ 15 minutes of fame. The downside you may lose control of your privacy.

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