Sunday, January 22, 2006

Topics to be covered in the near future

- Google and the Child Online Protection Act-related subpoena; Does aggregate information violate privacy? And why does Google not want to give out that information, anyways?

- Software that sends your information to the software-makers' server - does it violate your privacy even if this is in the Privacy Policy, even if no human ever sees this information except as an anonymous drop in an ocean of data? No, of course not! Silly people raising a fuss over the iTunes mini-store, FireFox, Google's anti-phishing plug-in, the Google Toolbar... Google even took an opportunity once to vent about this!

- Merchants that ask you for your address and phone number. Rebates that require you to state an occupation. Supermarket-savings cards, real or fake ones. Merchants that keep track of what each customer buys. How much is that information worth, anyways? Why do we keep giving it out? Ought we not to? Can we sell it? Isn't it advantageous for merchants to figure out who wants what where, so as to be able to distribute and stock more efficiently, and offer lower prices? Don't you want to be able to walk into a store and have the salesperson ask "So, how's that (latest gadget you bough there) workin' out for you?"? Now THAT'S service! You just don't get that anymore.

- A quick look at the Privacy Policies for Google web search and for some popular email services, maybe some hosting services, online social networking services, and so on.

- Why it is that information about you ends up in the Google search results and what you can do about it.

- Why orkut users (read: Brazilian people) don't really care about privacy, and why it is that they are actually wrong when the DO complain about "violations of privacy".

- More and more of our information, and our lives in general, is web-based. What are the implications? What does the future hold?

- Combining information: Bits of information about you which can separately be made public harmlessly could, when brought together, be (or look) dangerous to you. In the computerized world, people need to realize that different bits of information about you from different sources can easily be brought together. If your address and phone number are in the phonebook under your name, then anyone with your phone number can find out where you live. Things you say on different websites, different blogs, different online forums, and different periodicals, can all easily be found. Anything you say (and stuff others say about you) that ends up on the web is public.

- John Battelle speaks his mind on these issues (especially the last ones about information on the web, what sites know what, how much of it can be found by anyone), and I agree with him. (See, I'm not always disagreeable). You can watch this, starting 35 minutes and 45 seconds into this video.

- My thoughts on the controversy over Google's Book Search - because "private information" issues and "intellectual property" issues go hand in hand. My opinion on this particular issue is not one I have seen online; it's a mix between this one and this one.

- My reflections about the many(1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, etc) articles and sites out there that are WAY too paranoid about privacy. My favorite is this video (it wasn't an easy choice, there are just so many wild and crazy privacy nuts out there).

- Other random internet-related things.


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