Articles

Facebook is not the real privacy threat

In Uncategorized on July 24, 2012 by olcinium

Facebook is certainly a good example of a bad approach to privacy policy, but the dangers of Facebook depend entirely on our own failures.

Facebook is regularly raked over the coals by privacy advocates and security experts for the company’s policies and the site’s functionality. One common complaint relates to the way users’ privacy configurations have tended to get reset to non-private settings whenever there is a major change to the site. Another is the fact that Facebook sells private information to advertisers.

It does not matter how much security software is made available to us, how carefully corporations like Facebook and Google may guard our data in their possession, or even how carefully agents of government might avoid violating the US Constitution’s Fourth Amendment prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures, if we give away everything they might learn without anyone having to ask.

Some of us, of course, do try to guard our privacy. For us, those violations do matter, even if they do not matter so much for those who do not realized the damage they do to their own security by posting addresses, birthdays, their childrens’ photographs and names, GPS location data, love letters, financial information, and every other detail of their lives to the Web.

For those of us who know enough to care about privacy, security software such as OpenPGP utilities, packet filtering firewalls, and SSH proxies are a huge benefit; for those who do not, these tools are never even used.

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