Is there a privacy debate?

Late last year I ventured out to TEDx Newcastle, it was an amazing event organised by the guys at Codeworks, I’ve since joined their team.

They’re an amazing bunch and can nail content for events like nothing I’ve seen before. One of the talks was by Chris Stainthorpe of the B Group Creative Agency. Chris talked about privacy and the debate behind data being publicly available without people knowing it. I was intrigued by his talk, more so because of the feedback he was getting from the crowd. It seemed like shock-and-awe as they realised unless they changed their privacy settings that their info was widely available to the general public on the likes of Facebook and LinkedIn etc.

I was reminded about the debate this morning when checking the Technology area of and finding two articles relating to privacy issues with Google and Facebook. It brought me back to my opinion on privacy at the time of listening to Chris at TEDx Newcastle.

Surely in this day and age people are aware of identity fraud and ridiculous scams online. Putting that together with Facebook and other social networks, surely people must realise that whatever they write or publish is then quite clearly and obviously public knowledge. We’ve all heard stories of people saying the wrong thing on social networks and then being reprimanded at work because of it.

I personally think there is no privacy debate at all. If we put privacy in the control of the user then clearly tell them what is visible when they’re signing up, surely then it is down to them and not the social app which they’re using?

Why do we have to keep discussing what should and shouldn’t be allowed. What we can and what we cannot show? Give the power to the people and let them choose. Surely?

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Lead Interaction Designer at DigitalDWP. Organiser of Industry, The Practical Web Conference..

2 thoughts on “Is there a privacy debate?”

  1. Privacy in the modern sense is about control over your own information. In particular, it’s about not being assured one thing, eg your info won’t be given to third parties, especially not for money, and then finding out you were lied to.

    In this manner, your example of facebook is a terrible one, because facebook has, secretly and always to the detriment of the user, changed their privacy policy near constantly.

    Privacy is as important as free speech and I find your argument about as compelling as “if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear”.

    1. We all know Facebook change their privacy policy constantly, my discussion was simply around giving the user the option to maintain and manage their own privacy as opposed to the social network managing it for them. If companies gave us full rights to manage our own privacy then where does the problem lie, as long as they are completely truthful of course which isn’t always correct.

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