Privacy Isn’t Dead – It’s Not Even Sleeping

It’s become something of a predictable phenomenon: an article, op-ed, or blog post will surface with an incendiary quote indicating that privacy is dead, or that Internet users have given up privacy with abandon. A slew of data is thrown around – often reporting on teenagers’ online habits – and a eulogy for privacy is trumpeted. Last week, the process repeated itself when a CNET article waxed and waned about why no one cares about privacy anymore.

It is true that our society’s use of technology is changing the ways we interact and has eroded some privacy barriers. However, claims that ‘no one’ cares about privacy are at best short-sighted hyperbole and at worst poorly veiled justifications for future infringements on privacy. As danah boyd [sic], a leading researcher on privacy, social networks, and youth aptly put it this weekend at SXSW: “When people say that privacy is dead, it just warrants others to disregard it.”

Nuanced View of Privacy – The CNET article, which stands as only the most recent of many privacy dirges, referred to a Pew survey that found 40 percent of people with an online profile have disabled privacy settings. But consider the flipside: 60% of adults and 66% of teens maintain privacy settings. This data is consistent with what we are hearing from the social networks themselves: over 50% of Facebook users customized their privacy settings last December using Facebook’s new privacy wizard. As Facebook’s Tim Sparapani recently stated, Facebook users sent a clear message that “privacy is important to [me], I’m going to control my data and I’ve now been given tools by Facebook to do so.”

Of course these statistics fail to reveal the many other actions that users take to protect their privacy. For example, a 2007 Pew study found that more than half of teens post false information to their online profiles, like incorrect birthdays. (Although this technically violates Facebook’s terms of service, Facebook acknowledged that posting false personal information was acceptable behavior.) Other privacy protective behaviors include the widespread use of browser plug-ins that block advertisers from obtaining user information. Continue reading.

Related Posts

Why “Open Source” misses the point of Free Software By Richard Stallman: When we call software “free,” we mean that it respects the users' essential freedoms: the freedom to run it, to study and change ...
Anonymity and the Internet Universal identification is portrayed by some as the holy grail of Internet security. Anonymity is bad, the argument goes; and if we abolish it, we ca...
In Networks We Trust European researchers are proposing a paradigm-shifting solution to trusted computing that offers better security and authentication with none of the d...
EFF Seeks Attorneys to Help Alleged Movie Downloaders Are you an attorney licensed to practice law in the United States? If you are, EFF needs your help to fight spam-igation. The U.S. Copyright Group ...
The Evil That Apple Does Apple’s new iPad is going to be a laptop supplement for some early-adopters, a laptop replacement for others, and a laptop instead-of for still other ...
Who Controls Identity on the Web? The race to own your virtual identity is on. In announcements made just days apart at the end of April, Facebook and the Mozilla Foundation launched p...

We Recommend These Vendors and Free Offers

ContainerizeThis 2016 is a free, 2-day conference for all things containers and big data. Featured, will be presentations and free, hands-on workshops. Learn more at ContainerizeThis.com

Launch an SSD VPS in Europe, USA, Asia & Australia on Vultr's KVM-based Cloud platform starting at $5:00/month (15 GB SSD, 768 MB of RAM).

Deploy an SSD Cloud server in 55 seconds on DigitalOcean. Built for developers and starting at $5:00/month (20 GB SSD, 512 MB of RAM).

Want to become an expert ethical hacker and penetration tester? Request your free video training course of Online Penetration Testing and Ethical Hacking

Whether you're new to Linux or are a Linux guru, you can learn a lot more about the Linux kernel by requesting your free ebook of Linux Kernel In A Nutshell.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*