Category Archives: Privacy

Selling You on Facebook

One article that struck me looking through today’s news, is entitled “Selling you on Facebook” and was written by Julia Angwin and Jeremy Singer Vine. It was published in the Wall Street Journal and can be found here: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303302504577327744009046230.html?mod=WSJ_hp_mostpop_read.

This article raises concerns about the privacy settings, or lack thereof, for the new technologies that many of us use every day. It talks about a concept called “habituation,” through which ” people who see frequent warnings come to disregard them…people become accustomed to simply pressing the “yes” button when faced with an alert or warning.”

It seems to me that this could turn out to be the next huge corporate scandal in the United States. Technology has been advancing so rapidly, and regulations to protect consumers simply have not kept pace. Many of us, myself included, have become accustomed to agreeing to privacy policies rather than taking the time to read the fine print. Companies have made much of this information indecipherable for the average person, yet can hide behind the cover of a legal disclaimer if they are ever challenged.

This article raises some interesting questions: How diligent are you with reading the privacy policies of applications on your Ipads or smartphones? Does this trend alarm you? Have you experienced negative consequences from ignoring a privacy warning that you later regretted? Do you have any advice for other readers about how to protect themselves? And for the lawyers among us, does clicking “accept” really absolve corporations of any responsibility for how they use and share that information?

And from a corporate perspective, do you think that corporations will eventually pay a price for misusing consumer information or for asking for more information than is needed to run an app? Do you know of trusted organizations that help provide practical guidance on how to protect yourself from privacy violations?

The Wall Street Journal did add some practical guidance on how to protect your privacy on Facebook, which can be found here: http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2012/04/06/how-to-control-what-facebook-apps-see/

Please share your thoughts on this issue when you have a moment. And thank you for reading!

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Filed under Privacy, Social Media