Saturday, April 21, 2012

Privacy's (d)evolution

So, I talked about privacy here, and was backed up extremely nicely (thank you Colleen), but privacy concerns are still out there.

A little over a year ago, friends and I were discussing what you should share on the internet, and what you shouldn't.  I made the case that in today's society, I didn't see a reason to keep anything secret, since everything was out there anyway - the only thing keeping anyone from something they want to know is time. The amount of time to find stuff out has decreased dramatically (remember when going to the library was the only option?), but my naive brain believes that it's always been the case - there is paper tied to your every moment, from birth to death and everything in between. My friend's question to me was if I would put up signs on my lawn declaring what I was up to, if I would be considered weird.  I think I would be the weirdo of the neighbourhood (every neighbourhood has to have one, right?), but his point was well taken.  Just because we can share, doesn't mean we should share.

When I was thinking of coming back to the blogosphere (is that a word?), privacy was on my mind a lot.  My worry was that I wanted to be honest with my opinions, and those opinions might not be accepted happily by my friends, family, and even loved ones.  I have thoughts that I express to these people, but frame them up so that they seem less... crazy. Here, I don't really have that opportunity, so I'm going to try and let my freak flag fly, and just express myself openly.  It won't be easy, and it may not be entertaining. For that I sincerely apologize, more-so for the not entertaining part, as I like to be the guy who people laugh with (or at, it's hard for me to distinguish).

My first topic I'd like to talk about is the news article describing potential employers demanding people's facebook usernames and passwords. It's been out of the news for awhile, but it's hot on my radar, since I've got the opposite view that most people seem to have.  They're outraged, at the distinct lack of privacy that this draconian world seems to have. I'm actually ok with it.

"Say it ain't so!", I hear you say, while others might be clambering to correct me or make me change my mind.  You're totally able to attempt it, and you might even succeed, but I think I've got a firm grasp on why I feel the way I do, and that's not likely to change.

Here's my nickel's worth (upgraded due to the lack of penny in Canada, which I think is awesome), and I'm not trying to sway you to my way of thinking at all - just putting my view out there. Having recently gone through a spell of unemployment, I would've gladly forked over my goodies in order to secure successful employment. The employers using this tactic are not asking for sexual favours, or for money, or anything tangible, they're seeking information. Information that you're volunteering.  If you're worried about anyone, ANYONE, in the world not knowing what you're talking about, what you like, who your friends are, what your private messages contain, or anything, I have three words of caution - don't share it.  

Another reaction I personally had to this story was, "What if the schmuck interviewing me uses my username and password to login and destroy my social life?". They could do stuff like spread gossip, or spread spam messages through my friend list or even *GASP* unfriend people! Then I remembered what other information we give to employers, specifically if we want to get paid. We trust these organizations with our bank account information, our Social Insurance Number (which I'm told is dangerous, although I don't know why), and all the rest of our emergency contact information in case of an emergency.  

Giving an employer access to your Facebook account, is not giving them the keys to your head, unless you share willy-nilly without a filter. It's only giving them access to the stuff you volunteer without even being coerced.  When discussing my view with a friend, they expressed that they were worried about employers gaining access to your browser history, since some of us might not browse to the most savoury of sites all the time.  To my knowledge, that's not something anyone shares, and not something visible on Facebook (except potentially to your Internet Service Provider). If I'm wrong about that, or I'm missing something, feel free to let me know.

Speaking of that - what do you think?  Am I out of my gourd?  Is there something I missed?  I'm anxious to see.

Take care!

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