Old school first
With the telephone we were given the ability to opt out of telephone books and information lines (1411) and also the ability to add ourselves to the ‘do not call list.’ We safeguarded our information by keeping private our social security numbers, as well as addresses to protect our identity, and our families.
Today, using social media, we really put ourselves out there. A few years ago Facebook had many layers in which to be anonymous and not be found, but continues to peel the onion little by little. You also really only had one or two ways of searching people out, typically by using Google, or by knowing an individual uses a specific online network. Today however, websites continue to pop up that are gathering intel on you and your online activities.
And why not, information is probably a trillion dollar business when it’s all said and done, but I wonder to what end?
Are the days of reasonable privacy over? Are we developing a world of ‘in your face?’ Afterall, apparently it’s been ruled that service by Facebook holds up in court, and repo pros are learning where you are by use of geo websites, and any Tom, Dick and Harry can video you and post you on the internet, or snap your picture while at Wal-Mart and call you a people of.
I realize that you can be private, and you can opt for which onion layers you can keep on Facebook, but really, how many pieces of the puzzle does it take for someone who wants to find you, to actually know exactly where you’ll be and when? From process service, to real true to life stalkers, what will it take to get Congress to put teeth into legislation that allows you to absolutely opt out of public directories? Isn’t it time?
If our names are our new phone numbers, it stands to reason our names should also be protected if the consumer so wishes it, with specific exclusion, from not only all databases, but from Google as well- it’s a reasonable request and hold liable any website that distributes information without the users permission, disclaimers are not enough because in the end, that’s a hold harmless for accidents and mistakes, isn’t it? A website operator can opt out of Google, but could a human being? When you Google yourself, is Facebook a top tier result? Did you permit that?
It’s still early in the game, but it doesn’t take a degree in rocket science to do this math, does it? Where does our Government draw the line anymore?
We’d like to know your thoughts…
Do you have a reasonable right to privacy? Should social networks have an all in one opt out button? Should Congress consider putting real law behind it the same way they did with cell phone privacy?
UPDATE: the Electronic Frontier Foundation has filed suit against the Department of Justice and five other governmental agencies for cloaking how they use social networks to investigate citizens for criminal and civil matters. The suit demands that the agencies make public their methods. Full report on eweek.com.
Related reading: The Google Cleaner: Erasing Folks From The Internet