Before reading this post, I'd suggest reading this article just to get a bit of a background on what I'll be talking about: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32467318/ns/technology_and_science-tech_and_gadgets/
This article brings up a strikingly good point: If you're going to put something online you want to keep private, yet show to a selected public, you have to be smart and careful about it. The article phrases it best when saying "you are responsible for where you choose to put your private information." Seems simple and straightforward, right? Then why are there so many issues with online privacy, and what site such as Facebook and Twitter are allowed to use for their own commercial use? Below I've listed what I think are relevant issues in the debate of online privacy:
- Nothing is for free. So Facebook provides what some would argue is an amazing service to its users; a free online social networking site that allows you to stay up to date with friends, share pictures, send messages between one another, essentially making the phrase "Keep in touch" a whole lot easier. But is it really for free, I mean Facebook has to be able to run their business somehow. Domain names (the way Facebook is actually identified as Facebook), copyrights, iPhone apps, maintenance, innovation, all of these things cost money, yet we're able to use it for free. How so? This leads into my next point.
- Contractual agreement. Yeah, that thing you just check off that you've read when we all know that probably only 1% of the population actually reads those things fully. I mean, I'm signing up for a Facebook account, not for the loan on a car, I don't have to worry about anything tricky in the contract? Wrong. I believe the current state of Facebook's EULA is that they have limited use of anything you post on their site. They're providing a service for you to put your private information on their public servers. Its no surprise that just a couple months ago they tried to change their contract to where they owned anything you posted on their website. By you putting your private information on their website, you're also saving a copy of it on the computers they own. That fact alone makes stuff that's private feel a little more public.
- And finally, the modern day expectation for technology to work the way we expect it to. Call it a consequence of the dot com boom, the slow evolution of Lazy America, or sheer lack of knowledge of how the stuff in the background actually works. Its becoming more and more common in America for technology to automatically work the way we expect it to.