The topic we are exploring is user privacy. User privacy (internet privacy) can be loosely defined as the desire to want everything you do over the Internet (chat, purchase, etc.) only is between yourself in the comfort of wherever you desire to use the Internet. However, sometimes we can’t have everything we want and that is definitely the case with Facebook.
According to Miguel Helft of The New York Times, when you first sign up for Facebook, you share your personal information with them. You then decide who can see your profile and the social networking site states that they will oblige with your wishes. What you might not know is that the reason you see advertisements on their site that appeal to you is because they use your personal information to personalize what ads to show you.
Another thing that seemed interesting in Helft’s article is the fact that Facebook acknowledged that through many of their applications, like the popular game Farmville, personal information was shared improperly with advertisers and Web Trackers.
What is the most perplexing is the fact that experts on privacy seem to be divided on the subject. Some are saying that this is a very serious subject like Peter Eckersley. Others are saying that there is no evidence of improper use of personal information.
Regardless of what everybody else thinks, it is up to Facebook to respond to the current situation. As of four days ago, The New Zealand Herald reported they have taken affirmative action to stop any third-party applications from sharing information with Web Trackers and advertisers. This shows that user privacy may not be a big deal to some experts, but it is important to the users of Facebook.
Today, The Washington Post reported that Internet privacy could be a key priority in the next congress. Republican Joe L. Barton is pushing the issue after meeting with Facebook executives on privacy issues. They say that legislation on Internet privacy can happen as early as two years due to its support by both Democrats and Republicans. This goes to show that privacy is huge issue across America and that someone is doing something about it.
In the video below you will see another case of user privacy. Wayne Madsen, of the popular online forum Wayne Madsen Report, talks about many watchdog groups throwing Google under the bus for violation of user privacy. Wayne also goes on saying that Google entered into an agreement with the NSA to share security threats. There are also many countries that have had problems with Google and their privacy policies.
Take a look.