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[liberationtech] Flaming Google

Travis McCrea me at
Fri May 31 08:01:26 PDT 2013

I don't know how many people watch Doctor Who, and I hate to use it as my example, but there was a planet where people used items of emotional value as currency. This is kinda how I see the future of the Internet going: People trade various details of their life, and they get various services in return (privacy economy?).

I use Google services, while I never fully trust anyone, I trust them more than most with the data they collect about me. You sort of give this same level of trust to merchants when you swipe your credit card, not knowing if they are actually collecting your card number and are going to do bad things with it.

Services should have the option (as Google does) to pay for a service, and not have to take part in advertising. I would love to pay Facebook $5 a month, and not have any ads and no tracking. Again, however, it comes down to trust -- every website can collect information about you even if they are not running ads. They can be sharing that information, etc. You wouldn't know unless you worked for the company, and realistically probably only if you were in upper management or a small little team. 

You don't have to trade your privacy for free services, but I choose to. I don't view a company as "evil" for it.

Gregory Foster wrote:
> Please note the subject change, as the previous subject featured
> "Microsoft" - a notable reflection of the tides of history.
> In short, what price will you pay for your privacy?
> Google (like Facebook), makes the majority of its money by selling
> advertisements (I've heard on the order of 95% of Google's revenue is
> generated by AdWords).  Like everything else the Internet touches,
> advertising has been disrupted by the innovations introduced by
> companies like Google and Facebook.  In this case, the innovation is
> highly accurate micro-targeting of groups.  For example, on Facebook
> you can place an advertisement that targets only current employees of
> a particular organization - because individuals document their
> employment history on Facebook.
> Disruption of the advertising industry has been enabled by the
> acquisition and compilation of information on individuals.  We, as
> individuals, voluntarily provide our personal information to these
> organizations in the process of using the tools and amusements they
> provide to us - crucially, at no direct financial cost to us.  The
> quantity and accuracy of aggregated personal data largely determines
> the amount of advertising revenue that can be generated.  Therefore
> these organizations are incentivized to collect more and more personal
> data.  In some circumstances (but not all), these same organizations
> provide paid versions of their tools which provide privacy guarantees,
> such as Google Apps for Business which includes GMail.  It's worth
> noting there is no privacy protecting version of Facebook.
> So this calculus is pretty simple.  If your privacy is worth something
> to you, what will you pay to keep it?  Trouble finding privacy
> protective substitute technologies?  Well, that's part of our answer.
> Technology has a cost for the convenience it provides, and that cost
> is not just economic.  As McLuhan said, every technology is
> simultaneously an amplification *and an amputation*.  And lately,
> there's a lot of severed personal data being scooped up.
> gf

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