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Publicy. Or why private information is too public.

March 16, 2010

During the last three months I have been discussing the Facebook privacy changes and have seen them myself while looking for new friends’ profiles and information. Facebook effectively took the information that had been trusted to a limited group of people and made it public. This post is not about how evil Facebook is or how unfair the privacy changes are (many blogs and class action lawsuits are already dealing with this). What I find more intriguing is the reaction of most users to these changes.

Most people I have discussed the issue with (the average internet user, not professional geeks) did not know of the change. But what surprised me is that they did not really care. When informed that their profile was now public and that strangers could view their information and photographs most people’s reaction was “so what”. Society has gradually changed its approach to privacy to a level where the word itself lacks meaning. If your private life is public it cannot be private anymore.

At the last MLove Wintercamp the issue was part of one of the workshops and one of the ideas that came out of the afternoon was to enhance education on the risks of making personal details public. From theft to stalking and fraud the risks of making your information public are wide and proven and people should know them.

What is your take on Privacy? Should private and personal information remain private or should it be available to everyone? Should people know more about the risks and dangers of public information? Vote!


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