Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Is There A Privacy Expert In The House

I recently attended an online privacy debate/discussion presented by Gotham Media at Frankfurt Kurnit.  I want to thank both of them for putting this type of program together: a mix of legal and non-legal and very cutting edge. Unfortunately, I left unsatisfied.

Each panel member was smart and specialized (government lawyer, Wired editor, journalism professor and ex-Microsoft lawyer) and the conversation was lively for the most part.  But, the panelists appeared to generally agree that (1) people want more privacy, (2) consumers need to be protected online (from advertisers? others, besides crooks? not sure who), and (3) the government is the entity that should police privacy.

I left the talk unsatisfied because I don't agree with any of those premises. (1) my public online presence is something I chose and am happy with, (2) I much prefer to get ads targeted to what I am looking for, especially if it includes a better price--I don't like to window shop, and (3) the discussion centered around privacy regulations that remain on the drafting boards since 2000. Social media and sharing sites (facebook, twitter, foursquare, flickr etc) were, of course, not even around in 2000. Which begs the question, who is writing the regs and do they have enough of an online presence to understand social media?

I prefer to be vigilant (not necessarily restrictive) about my own settings, so I can benefit from sharing and what is shared on my terms.

I am not a privacy lawyer, it is just an area of interest to me. If anyone can set my understanding straight, please comment, I would be grateful to hear why I am misinformed.

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