Thursday, 26 February 2015

It’s hard to trust

It’s hard to trust a company whose entire business model depends on people not understanding how to manage their privacy.

Now that I’m no longer an academic, life seems too short to read Facebook’s new privacy policy.  I daresay I’ll have a look at their latest privacy settings one day soon but it’s hard to raise the enthusiastic energy even that would require.  In any case, the focus on privacy settings is at best deliberately misleading. A responsible site that cared about privacy would guide users on safe decision-making throughout the lifetime of their accounts. They’d pop up information such as “do you know that this person can see that content?” and tell us what to do if that isn’t what we wanted.

Our privacy requirements change over time. Since companies like Facebook know so much about their users, they ought to be helping those users modify their privacy settings as their lives change.  It’s not in Facebook’s immediate interest, though. We should change that.

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