I used to think that Privacy mattered – that it was a big deal.
After a conversation that I had with Steve Citron-Pousty (a technology evangelist and a decidedly opinionated person @theSteve0 on Twitter), I’ve come to the conclusion that privacy is a very complex, multi-dimensional thing. People willingly give up their privacy all the time.
Sure, privacy is a big issue, but as people go on-line more and more, there’s an evolution in how people view their privacy.
People willingly give up their current location on FourSquare, their opinions on Twitter, their friends on Facebook their business background on LinkedIn. I won’t even mention what some freely disclose on various adult sites (no need to ask me “how did you find out about that?” – I heard about it from @theSteve0 at a conference and read about it on Wikipedia somewhere).
People are ok with giving up astonishing amounts of their privacy.
People are willing to share more and more information about themselves – in essence “trading” it for some sort of value received (which may or may not be tangible) – so long as they’re not surprised by what comes out of it.
What people really hate is being surprised. People want to be able to make informed decisions. Giving up privacy is ok. Having privacy TAKEN AWAY from them without their agreement or even knowledge is an odious abomination.
Taking people’s privacy away from them without their consent is also a BAD BUSINESS DECISION. Sure, a company might benefit in the very short run, but they will pay the piper for such a decision, and pipers are very expensive.
One of the latest abominations to pop up on the internet is Klout.com. They create a “FICO Score” for almost everyone out there who uses Facebook or Twitter. They’ve scored 100+ million people. You get a score whether you want one or not. Their vision is to impact your life on a daily basis – whether you like it or not.
If you’re interested in reading more about how Klout.com takes your privacy away from you without your consent, check out my articles on Web2.0 Journal