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?


Anonymous said...

@Rajat - I too am with you on that one about wanting to know where my child is, as a father of two that's always in the back of my mind when we're out in public. I was more interested to hear what others also thought with regard to my post (thanks for the link by the way) :)

Privacy on the Internet - that's almost an oxymoron in itself since the public domain is the opposite of privacy and a lot of people just don't get it - if it's online it's indexable and with the right resources, and sometimes some form of payment, that data can be retrieved and used for whatever purpose they want.

rajat.mukherjee said...

What's surprising (and unknown to many) is that there's information that you think is *not* in the public domain that actually *is* ...

Anonymous said...


Would be very interesting to see a post with a list of such information assumed private that's actually public.

Ramesh Akkineni said...

Is it possible to develop a service like PurpleYogi/Webaroo with help of Yahoo BOSS or similar APIs. Are there any other softwares/APIs that you can suggest?

Ed Smith said...

US Postal change of address forms are a major source of free data for mailing lists. The info for me that I have found online is all from the last time I filed on.
The USPS reserves the right to use your new address info in whatever way they deem most profitable.