Rants, Raves, and Rhetoric v4

Naked on the Net

The typical response to a “OMG Users Don’t Have the Privacy They Think They Do” article is to never post anything online or just never visit web sites where you would post something.

These seem…. Paranoid. People have an expectation of privacy. People also inherently trust web sites unless they have been burned enough in the past. I know a few people who have lost their trust. However, its less than a dozen out of a few 300 people.

My mother in particular, read an article about bad web browser cookies years ago, so she set Netscape 4.5 to tell her about every attempt to set a cookie and was appalled at how many web sites tried to set them. Eventually, she realized not every cookie is malicious. Similarly, not every web site or company is out to screw their users. By contrast, a friend of hers installed Zone Alarm at home and discovered a ton of blocked connections which made him paranoid about the dangers online.

The place to be online is, I think, somewhere between paranoid privacy and complete openness. We should be open enough to generate conversations. However, we should not be giving away the kitchen sink.


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