Privacy: Zuck Is Not The Devil - InformationWeek

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11/14/2014
11:35 AM
Grumpy IT Guy
Grumpy IT Guy
Commentary
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Privacy: Zuck Is Not The Devil

Facebook's new privacy rules? No reason to get grumpy. US Department of Justice's new "overly friendly skies"? Worthy of outrage.

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Admit it: Like me, I bet you are tired of people whining about privacy, especially when they have a choice in the matter. Don't like the new Facebook privacy rules? Don't use Facebook. You won't catch Grumpy IT Guy on Facebook. Grumpy IT Guy wants to stay in the Grumpy Protection Program. People who use Facebook opted in. But nobody opted in for the US Department of Justice or any other government agency to spy on them, as reported yesterday by The Wall Street Journal.

First, the Facebook whining. Let us review the logic. Company offers you free service. As has been said many times, if you're not paying for the product, you are the product. You sign up while knowing this.

Then, when they treat you like the product, you get grumpy? Hey, I am all about grumpy. I revel in my grumpiness. But whining about Facebook's intrusiveness when you bloody well know how intrusive they are when you sign up is kind of like this:

You: Please punch me in the face.

(Punch in face received)

You: Hey! Why did you punch me in the face?

(Source: Andrea Allen)
(Source: Andrea Allen)

Not to blame the victim, but when you ask for it, when you know it, when you sign up anyway for the Facebook punch in the face, you should not complain.

The Register, that bastion of gossip news about technology, said Thursday, "Facebook's plain English data policy: WE'LL SELL YOU LIKE A PIG at a fair." Call the press! Facebook is selling you to advertisers! And that has changed, how exactly?

But the government? Once again overstepping, this time with surveillance planes that mimic cellphone towers and track your movements. In "Americans' Cellphones Targeted In Secret US Spy Program," The Washington Post said: "The program bears some resemblance to the National Security Administration's dragnet approach to collecting information while tracking terrorists."

[No surprise here: Americans Doubt They Can Protect Their Privacy.]

The DoJ told The Wall Street Journal that "agencies comply with the law when it comes to surveillance." Goody. Because we all know that keeping track of my grandmother's location while she is on the phone with me complaining about her lumbago will keep the country safer.

InformationWeek's Eric Zeman pointed out about the Justice Dept. surveillance effort: "That spiffy new encryption baked into Android 5.0 Lollipop and iOS 8? Yeah, it doesn't provide any defense."

I am tired of this broad surveillance in the name of catching crooks. Surveil them, not me or grandma. We didn't opt in for that.

When Facebook starts buddying up and flying the friendly skies with the US DoJ to collect information about you, you can get grumpy about Facebook and privacy. In the meantime, save the outrage for where it belongs.

Just 30% of respondents to our new Big Data and Analytics Survey say their companies are very or extremely effective at identifying critical data and analyzing it to make decisions, down from 42% in 2013. What gives? Get the The Trouble With Big Data issue of InformationWeek Tech Digest today. (Free registration required.)

Grumpy IT Guy avoided historic disasters and clueless people while working his way up the IT ranks, but he retained his keen sense of humor. He now leads an IT organization somewhere in America, as part of the FBI's Grump Protection Program. Need advice? Send questions to ... View Full Bio
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jagibbons
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jagibbons,
User Rank: Ninja
11/17/2014 | 12:47:54 PM
Re: Gripe about the government spying on you, but.......
Privacy and security are a balancing act. Events will have the effect of swinging the pendulum one way or the other. 9/11 moves us to more security and less privacy. Edward Snowden pushing the pendulum back toward privacy. I don't see this ever changing.

Be informed and make good decisions. If that means not using Facebook, more power to you. If that means you are going to use Facebook, understand and be comfortable with what you're trading for that free service.
jagibbons
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jagibbons,
User Rank: Ninja
11/17/2014 | 12:45:48 PM
Re: Everyone's doing it
The unlocked cockpit and box cutter are just recent examples that can be used to reinforce the fact that privacy is eroding. J. Edgar Hoover bugged everyone's phones. Nixon recorded his private meetings. Perhaps there were good reasons for some of these. I believe that these and more examples like them are simply abuses in power because those individuals were in a position of power that allowed them to abuse it. In general, people are curious and paranoid. When given the means to act on those instincts, most of us will.
TerryB
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TerryB,
User Rank: Ninja
11/17/2014 | 12:43:29 PM
Re: Gripe about the government spying on you, but.......
@progman, that's what I was talking about. People are always squealing about everything now, not just 9-11 style attacks. And the politicians use that to whatever advantage they can.

We live in a dangerous age now. Even before 9-11 we had the Okla City bombing but we didn't sell out our freedom for that. If these programs had 100% guarantee we'd never have another event like 9-11 then maybe it would be a legitmate debate that we need this program. 

For me, it's not this particular technique they are using that is the problem. This mass collection of data is no threat to me, even if I was international jewel thief. But what's next? Tracking chips implanted in all us? It's this growing attitude that government protection is more important than anything else, that every citizen should be guaranteed safety by our elected officials and government agencies. It's a slippery slope to a police state.
progman2000
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progman2000,
User Rank: Ninja
11/16/2014 | 2:42:12 PM
Re: Well said
Love that, great point!
progman2000
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progman2000,
User Rank: Ninja
11/16/2014 | 2:41:35 PM
Gripe about the government spying on you, but.......
We haven't been hit with a significant terrorist event recently (I'm talking large scale, not the 3 fatalities at Boston) and we seem to have foiled an awful lot of plots.  I have a feeling the people that complain about the government intruding on us would also be squealing pretty loud if we had another 911 style attack.
danielcawrey
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danielcawrey,
User Rank: Ninja
11/16/2014 | 2:18:06 PM
Re: Everyone's doing it
The network affects that have been created by everyone using Facebook makes it hard to resist.

In the case of Messenger, I have some friends who have moved over to Telegram. But Telegram does not have a great UI, and more people still remain on Facebook. 
jastroff
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jastroff,
User Rank: Ninja
11/15/2014 | 2:39:57 PM
Re: Well said
Ello....
rjones2818
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rjones2818,
User Rank: Strategist
11/15/2014 | 11:15:58 AM
Re: Everyone's doing it
First, Obama's not a socialist.  He's what we used to call a moderate Republican, and in modern parlance, a corporatist.  He's pitiful, but he's better than the alternatives available in the US.  Second, everyone's doing it is the lamest possible excuse.  They're doing it because we're letting them do it. Everybody's doing it just reinforces that there's nothing to be done, and encourages nothing to be done.  The author is right that in effect we're opting in if we use Facebook, he's wrong in that Zucker is evil in that he has headed down the course that has been taken.
nomii
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nomii,
User Rank: Ninja
11/15/2014 | 7:43:10 AM
Re: Everyone's doing it

@Pedro true. Take the example of NSA and PRISM. I think if it would have not been leaked no one might have known that their lives are being searched inside out without their knowledge. If priemers of the states are being surveilled me and you are not even considered any threat.

PedroGonzales
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PedroGonzales,
User Rank: Ninja
11/14/2014 | 5:51:25 PM
Re: Everyone's doing it
Privacy discussion should really start with our government.  Losing our privacy is just something we have to get used to it.  The government doesn't even announce it, they just do it.  Our current congress has over issues than protecting people's privacy. 
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