Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Privacy? What privacy?

Loc8u has created a watch that tracks kids with GPS - and, of course, the privacy geeks have something to say! This is a violation of privacy, etc. etc.

Tell me that when I am running around the Great Mall in Milpitas for 45 minutes going all crazy that I'll never see my 4-year-old again ... this happened on Memorial Day a few years back, and, believe it or not, happened again (for only 5 minutes tho') with our younger son a few years later at Sears ... he was walking towards the escalator, assuming we'd gone down! As a parent, I have a right and a responsibility for a child, whether he/she likes it or not! If I suspect he's doing drugs at friend A's house, I'd rather he not hang out at A's house. He may find another way, but it is my prerogative to do my best to keep him honest while he's under my roof!

Privacy geeks make noise about every damn thing on the Internet! Leave the choice to the user! If there's value in search history, I'll turn it on - leave the search engine alone! I'd rather have a soccer result show up if I type "football" after reading an article about Maradona, than be told again about Brett Favre! And if I just Tweeted about Romo, I'd rather see a post about his performance for the same query "football" 5 minutes later!

Yeah! I've heard the argument - false positives! Sure - you'll get it wrong twice in 20 tries - egad ... that's 10 percent! Double-whammy digits! So what? You got it right 18 times! And I gave you my permission to do so! And with session-based personalization, you can do it all anonymously!

Opt in! That's the key!

If you want privacy - hey - go for it! Go into incognito mode and make merry. If you want privacy, tell the government to stop putting all your public records online, so that stalker doesn't find your phone number and address in 2 seconds on a search engine! Don't blame the search engine! And, a piece of advice ... stop putting those drunken photos on Facebook! Better yet, create 2 different accounts - for friends and your mom! Or suffer the consequences ... (LOL!)

Like ad networks aren't tracking you! Of course they are - and they should, so I see an ad for Hawaii snorkelling after I just purchased tickets to Maui! I'd rather see that ad than one for a GM car saying "May the best car win!".

Beacon! Why didn't you just do opt in, instead of trying to muscle your way in?

Online privacy is over-rated, and under-understood! Many complain that Internet companies are "watching you" when users are willingly using useful services. Sure, logs data, when used, is useful to the algorithm ... but they also add value to the user! If I had lots of friends, I'd sign up for Latitude. I'm ok with turning on tracking for traffic updates ...

As long as you can turn it off - do so and shut up (or go here) - and that's my "private" opinion! Oops! Did I just say that on the Internet?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A felicitation to The Internet on Labor Day!

As we often take the time on Labor Day to commemorate human endeavo(u)r, I thought it appropriate to give kudos to one of our colleagues-at-work-and-home: The Internet!

Here are some reasons that makes sense:
  • My salary comes from the Internet (I work for an "Internet company"), and I even pay my damn taxes with it!
  • Many other peoples' salaries (or earnings) come from the Internet, via schemes of different flavors (Phishy or Spammy), and the Internet is an equal-opportunity payer, going all the way from Nigeria to the UK.
  • We don't have full time help, but the Internet does help me with my shopping, and many chores, like paying most of my bills and my scheduling.
  • For every interest I have (soccer), and for every one of a million interests I don't have (sailing, curling, etc.), there's a web site about it, and the Internet can take you there!
  • If my time is worth something (ha!), and I spend half of it on the Internet, The Internet must be really working hard for me. Remember CPU cycles = Busy cycles + Idle cycles
  • I send email and photos to my parents and family on the Internet. I think they'd still prefer that I visited more than once every 2 years, but I blame that on ... my job (the Internet).
  • If you want to not-work, you can do that through the Internet too - it's called YouTube, Facebook or Twitter. If you get caught - the Internet is always there to blame it on. It won't answer in its defense! (but be careful ...if you piss it off, you can get a virus! - or - as Obama says, "it can haunt you later")
  • When my kids ask me a question that I don't know/remember the answer to (getting more frequent these days), I delegate freely - "Ask the Internet"
  • The Internet is also a partner in crime. Download music? Internet! (Not that I would ever consider doing this!) Forgot to pay the bill? Blame the Internet (connection). If you can't find it on the Internet, it does not exist!
  • ...and ...the Internet does not have any of these 10 bad office behaviors!
Long live... our-favorite co-worker ... The Internet!