I see Internet privacy has been in the news lately. Again. I think it has something to do with Google combining its many privacy policies with one, new all-encompassing policy. I don’t know the specifics, because I’m not really paying attention. For me, the debate behind Internet privacy is a little late, and a little silly. For me, it is already a foregone conclusion.
When I type information into a field, whether I’m buying something, or signing up for an account somewhere, I expect somebody has plans for that information, otherwise they wouldn’t be asking. When I put my personal information on a social site, I expect people, even people I don’t want to see it, to see it. Basically, whenever I do anything on the internet, I just assume whoever wants to get this information, probably can.
Now, it isn’t unreasonable for people to want vital information, such as bank or credit accounts, to be safe. No entity should be sharing that kind of information without your implicit consent. Everything else, I think, is fair game. If people think it shouldn’t be, well, it is anyway. Obviously. Or we wouldn’t be having this conversation.
Do people really care that much about the other stuff anyway, or is it some sort of “matter of principle”. I don’t give two poops what sort of information advertisers get from my Internet activities, or how they get it. The personalized ads for supposed 30 year-old-singles aren’t going to do them any good. I’ve volunteered most of it anyway. I know damn well people are paying for this stuff, and that, at the very least, the people who’s services I’m using are going to use it somehow.
If people are worried about the government, or other agencies, they are foals. The government, and other agencies, already can, and already have had, the power to find out whatever they want about you since forever It has been that way since way before the internet. Get over it. It will never be any different unless we don’t have government, or other agencies.
Of course, privacy, at all, is really more of an illusion than something real. We all like to think we do things nobody else knows about. However, people know more about you than you would like to think, and if you’re smart, you know this. Anybody who has ever had roommates knows this. Anybody who has ever lived in the same place for more than a year knows this.
I heard the best advice from a friend, as he recounted an anecdote concerning a liaison he was having. The woman involved was taking particular care to avoid being seen near his apartment, and voiced her concerns. His reply to her was that somebody was always watching, so her only choices were to relax, or not meet him in the first place.
Somebody is always watching. Somebody knows what you do. The only way to keep people from finding out about what you are doing, is to not do it. There is no way to keep people from using the information you put into the system. The only choice is to deal with it, or not to put that information in the system in the first place.