Remember the old adage, ‘Nothing in life is free’, ‘There is no free lunch’ or ‘Everything comes with a price tag’? Some retailers would like to argue that point, but when you drill down you always find a caveat to any “free” offer.
We have all been suspicious of government snooping into the details of our private lives, using their big brother status to delve into our activities, our habits, our preferences. A predominant theme of George Orwell’s classic Nineteen Eighty-Four centers on pervasive government surveillance and the consequential public mind control that could dominate our every action. How ironic that our fear of Big Brother would materialize with the big business juggernauts Facebook and Google. If you’ve been a little alarmed in the past about how much Google and Facebook know about you, brace yourself – they’ll know a great deal more about you in the future. More than your employer, more than your friends and family, maybe even more than your spouse.
Facebook recently released new privacy policies which clearly remind us that the services they provide are not free after all, we simply pay for their services with our personal data.
Facebook can tell you who your friends are and track both you and your friends:
- We receive data from the computer, mobile phone or other device you use to access Facebook. This may include your IP address, location, the type of browser you use, or the pages you visit. For example, we may get your GPS location so we can tell you if any of your friends are nearby.
- We also put together data from the information we already have about you and your friends. For example, we may put together data about you to determine which friends we should show you in your News Feed or suggest you tag in the photos you post. We may put together your current city with GPS and other location information we have about you to, for example, tell you and your friends about people or events nearby, or offer deals to you that you might be interested in. We may also put together data about you to serve you ads that might be more relevant to you.
When they say Public, it means the opposite of Private:
- Choosing to make your information public is exactly what it sounds like: anyone, including people not accessing Facebook, will be able to see it.
- Choosing to make your information public also means that this information: can be associated with you (i.e., your name, profile picture, Facebook profile, User ID, etc.) even off Facebook; can show up when someone does a search on Facebook or on a public search engine; will be accessible to the games, applications, and websites you and your friends use.
Okay so we own it, they just use all of it at their will:
- While you are allowing us to use the information we receive about you, you always own all of your information. Your trust is important to us, which is why we don’t share information we receive about you with others unless we have: received your permission; given you notice, such as by telling you about it in this policy; or removed your name or any other personally identifying information from it.
Be careful of the posts you make on Facebook or it could quickly become part or your reputation:
- Facebook Ads are sometimes paired with social actions your friends have taken. For example, an ad for a sushi restaurant may be paired with a news story that one of your friends likes that restaurant’s Facebook page. This is the same type of news story that could show up in your News Feed, only we place it next to a paid advertisement to make that ad more relevant and interesting. When you show up in one of these news stories, we will only pair it with ads shown to your friends. If you do not want to appear in stories paired with Facebook Ads, you can opt out using your “Edit social ads” setting.
A recent example of how this can consume your identity:
According to a post on Nick Bergus’ blog titled How I Became Amazon’s Pitchman For a 55-Gallon Drum of Personal Lubricant on Facebook: I posted it to Facebook with the line “A 55-gallon drum of lube on Amazon. For Valentine’s Day. And every day. For the rest of your life.” And then I went on with my life. A week later, a friend posts a screen capture and tells me that my post has been showing up next to his news feed as a sponsored story, meaning Amazon is paying Facebook to highlight my link to a giant tub of personal lubricant. Other people start reporting that they’re seeing it, too. I’m partially amused that Amazon is paying for this, but I’m also sorta annoyed. Of course Facebook is happily selling me out to advertisers. That’s its business. That’s what you sign up for when make an account.
Google associates your phone number with your account, which could in turn show up on the web:
- We may collect device-specific information (such as your hardware model, operating system version, unique device identifiers, and mobile network information including phone number). Google may associate your device identifiers or phone number with your Google Account.
- When you use our services or view content provided by Google, we may automatically collect and store certain information in server logs. This may include: details of how you used our service, such as your search queries. Telephony log information like your phone number, calling-party number, forwarding numbers, time and date of calls, duration of calls, SMS routing information and types of calls.
Google tracks you, so if you don’t want to be found – might want to turn location-enabling services off:
- When you use a location-enabled Google service, we may collect and process information about your actual location, like GPS signals sent by a mobile device. We may also use various technologies to determine location, such as sensor data from your device that may, for example, provide information on nearby Wi-Fi access points and cell towers.
Delete means Google may not delete the information you want deleted:
- We aim to maintain our services in a manner that protects information from accidental or malicious destruction. Because of this, after you delete information from our services, we may not immediately delete residual copies from our active servers and may not remove information from our backup systems.
After all of this, you still have choices. You can go back to using a pad and pen, invest in a dictionary and visit the library (if public libraries still exist in the future) on a regular basis. You can also communicate with your friends via a phone call or an actual visit, or you can accept the fact that privacy is a thing of the past. Which means you’ll need to be extremely careful in what you write and post, what you search for and the information you share on the internet. Second thought, let’s just all get Out Loud and let the chips fall where they fall…
Time to Get Involved, Get Loud & Think on the Brink