“Privacy” (capital ‘P’) is an ideal, very much like “Democracy” (capital ‘D’)

Let me begin by qualifying that I am simply a Facebook user. I have no vested interest in Facebook whatsoever.

This posting is in response to all the “Facebook is evil” rhetoric I’ve been reading lately with respect to their latest changes to their “privacy policies.”

I don’t think people have their facts straight regarding how Facebook handled the change to their new privacy policy with respect to existing users. When I logged in the other day I was presented with a screen that let me know there was a new privacy policy and that I needed to review my settings. While I was given the option to “open up” everything, all of the radio “buttons” defaulted to “keep my settings as they are/were.” Needless to say, I like keeping my Facebook information limited, for the most part, to my friends, so I reviewed my settings and left everything as it was. I’m sure when someone creates a new account on Facebook the default privacy settings will be to open everything to the search engines (can you really blame them), but I’m sure even new users will be able to enforce the same restrictions I have on my account.

On the topic of privacy in general…

What really “grinds my gears” is why people get pissed off about privacy with respect to Facebook or any other on-line social network. I like using Facebook; it provides me a service that I have come to see as valuable. However, I know there are risks; not just with Facebook, but with almost any on-line social network. It seems to me that Facebook’s only responsibility is to tell me what they are doing with my information and give me the capacity to “opt-out” if I so desire. Ultimately, the responsibility to protect my privacy is my responsibility. I learned, long ago, that one should not put anything on-line, in any form, that one would not want shared with the universe. Anyone who really thinks Facebook has become evil should not only stop posting to Facebook, they should close/cancel their account entirely. After all, voyeurism would be disingenuous. I would applaud anyone who, for the sake of principle, stops using Facebook entirely. Anyone who does so should let me know. My bet… This will be a VERY SMALL list.

Perhaps I am a fool, but I’m no more worried using Facebook that I am using GMail, my iPhone, or Microsoft Exchange.

For me, “Privacy” (capital ‘P’) is an ideal, very much like “Democracy” (capital ‘D’). Conceptually, I think we all believe we would really like Privacy and Democracy. Unfortunately, neither is actually achievable in reality, and it is our individual responsibility to work to protect both; first for ourselves, then for everyone else.

“Journalism” Gone Wild – Tiger Woods in CG!

A friend of mine just shared this video (http://bit.ly/20091203_TigerWoods_CG). Its a couple of minutes long, and you may not understand the language (I do not), however, its well worth your time.

I find this type of “re-enactment” to be particularly offensive/irresponsible, because, at this point, no one knows what happened inside the Woods’ home that night. Even without understanding a single world of the voice over, it takes no major leap to assume that many people will see this and believe it is fact.

Make no mistake… I am not coming to Woods’ defense. Like everyone else on the planet, with the exception of the couple involved, I have no idea what happened that night. What I find so wrong about this is what it represents. I certainly hope we don’t start seeing this type of visualization anytime soon, even from our own home-grown sensationalist jounalism sub-culture.