I put a question to my students that sparked a great argument. So much so, I wanted to put it to you.
There are two extreme views of privacy on the Web. The first, quoted by PCWeek’s Scott McNealy, “You have zero privacy now, get over it.” The second, stated by numerous groups, is a call for total privacy.
The problem is, the Web by its very nature, disallows privacy. The programming must know where to send files to get them to you.
Unless you own your own system, you are buying space on another’s so that limits your privacy. You cannot claim chat rooms are private because they are open forums. Email isn’t private because a copy is made at multiple points simply due to how the system works.
What’s more, total privacy is dangerous in that it allows people who would use the net to lure young people into bad situations (and other crimes) to work in secrecy.
On the other hand, the selling of email addresses and personal information is awful. DoubleClick is “profiling” people through cookies as they move around the Web.
Is this bad because you’re being tracked like a bear in a nature documentary or is it good because banner ads only offering things you might like pop up and specials you might enjoy show up in your email box.
So, what of it? Privacy, no privacy, limited privacy?
What is it you want - what is it you can have?
There are three kinds of people: Those who can count and those who can’t.