It's a question that's going to be coming up more and more often, as the social media world matures and our on-line worlds merge with our off-line world to become our "world."
Issues like the one I've linked to here are going to continue to be in the news - at least until we figure this out. And I suspect that given the pace of technology vs the ability of regulators to keep up, any "final solution" is unlikely. We'll all continue to struggle along.
Meanwhile, let's all review our privacy settings on our various online activities, keep track of our credit card information, watch out for gift cards and rewards cards that want to track all our activities - the list is long. On the other hand, most of those things end up improving much of your day-to-day experience - like the recommendations feature on Amazon, for example.
I'm not convinced that protecting privacy means that we need to close down access to our private information. I can think of plenty of situations where I want to be able to share that stuff. What we need is a way for me to be confident that when that information is shared, it's with people who will protect it. That's where the real opportunity lies. Figuring out that issue from the protection of the consumer point of view, while still letting companies benefit.
The link below refers to a blog post that got me thinking about that this morning. It's about a law being proposed in California that has Facebook gearing up its lobbying efforts to oppose. It's a good analysis.
Here's an excerpt:
A proposed new law in California would have radical implications for Facebook and other major social media sites:
The bill, which would apply only to users in California, would prohibit sites from displaying users' home addresses or telephone numbers without their consent and would mandate services remove of any information about a user within 48 hours of the request, or face a $10,000 fine.
Under the proposed law, social networking sites would be required to have all users choose their privacy settings--explained in "plain language"--as part of the registration process. It also spells out a privacy setting that would be mandated to serve as the default on all sites and that would prohibit "the display...of any information about a registered user, other than the user's name and city of residence, without the agreement of the user."
Perhaps predictably, Facebook has already commenced lobbying against the bill, claiming it is a "serious threat" to "California consumers' choices about use of personal data." However, their argument essentially hinges on the idea that consumers of social media products won't be able to give up their privacy until after they've become familiar with the service they're using.