Our Laws Aren’t Equipped for Online Privacy Issues
This week’s news is packed with information about online privacy. LinkedIn is going to start tracking your interaction with LinkedIn services even if you’re not logged in, your phone’s battery status tells marketers where you are, and the FCC chair told The Washington Post that he doesn’t like where online privacy is headed.
Nothing you type, send, or share online is private. We wrote several weeks ago that Facebook admitted that programmers with access to their data warehouse could find links privately shared between members of your organization.
Advocates continue scrambling to find new ways of protecting consumer interests. But consumers are often willing to trade their information for free services. Facebook and Google, arguably North America’s two most important online consumer websites, have business models based on “consuming the consumer”.
This isn’t the first time that business model has been used. Minimalist artist Richard Serra gave an interview in the 1970s where he quoted the short film, “Television Delivers”. Serra explained that the entire television model was based on delivering consumers to advertisers. That business model thrives today online, augmented by the collection of new data and the digitization of existing data.
Everything from our cars to our televisions to our thermostats–even our medical equipment–is collected, aggregated, analyzed, and packaged for advertising. Consider that every website you visit, every video you watch, search you make, or message you type is stored in many places and eventually added to the record that becomes your digital footprint.
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Highlights from this week’s news about privacy