Response #4

If Markets are Conversations, does that mean everyone is listening?

Today, I’m blogging about the relevance of a web user’s “Bill of Rights” - and whether there needs to be one in place.  Given the amount of attention that Facebook received over their changed Terms of Service, it’s no wonder the world wide web is clamoring for some oversight – or restrictions put on the use of one’s personal information.  It was recently discovered (not announced) that Facebook altered their company’s terms of use, essentially giving Facebook eternal use of your personal information – even if you delete your online profile.  This has sparked severe outrage, up to a complaint being filed with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).    Facebook’s recent change to their Terms of Service is much more liberal than the terms of MySpace, Twitter and even YouTube, where the license expires upon deletion of a user’s account.  So, one could surmise…regulation may be needed.

However, according to Wikipedia, many Internet privacy experts believe that’s an oxymoron, and that privacy does not exist on the Internet.  Wikipedia defines the Internet as “a global network of interconnected computers, enabling users to share information along multiple channels.”   So, one could infer that whatever information a user puts out on the Internet is fair game for all to see. 

I would agree that information on the Internet is fun – and juicy information is really fun.  But, let’s separate information we intend to share versus information that is private, and should be treated as such.  I am fully aware that every piece of information I type in this blog, on my Facebook page, on my LinkedIn page, on my MySpace page, etc. will be public domain and information that everyone can see.  That’s what the Internet is all about – sharing information.  What I don’t agree with is information we do not intend to share – personal information, etc. that we use to register for websites, buy products, etc.  – that is used by people we do not grant access.   So, the “control” aspect of the Bill I’m 100% in favor of. 

But, implementing the Bill of Rights is another story.  It may turn into something of “everybody wants, but nobody wants.”  Will the very foundation of the Internet be damaged with this Bill?  Will social media sites be less alluring with limited personal information?  Will less juicy information about people/subjects be less readily available on the Web?  This is all subject to debate. 

In the meantime, I will be listening to those conversations…

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