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?

In Google We Trust

We don’t know how the Google algorithm works, yet we trust it to deliver results which are best for us!? Erm hang on a minute… Millions and millions of searches must go through the various international Google websites daily. Google presents us with websites in a specific order which they deem substantially correct for the keyword search that we enter. They also present us with paid results which advertisers pay Google to present the average Joe.

The internet is full of users who I would put in a ‘general’ category, you know, the majority of people who ‘use’ the internet to buy the odd thing, check out facebook far too much, read the news etc. This general category don’t particularly understand why things work the way they do, or why things look a certain way they just expect it to be ‘just like that’. They’re the category that believe Google are doing their best for them, that they’re delivering the results they want.

What if they’re not? Has anyone questioned it?

We trust Google to deliver results which are definitely what we’re looking for. This after all is one of the reasons that made it the biggest search engine in the world today. Do we really know that in those 10 links on the first page of results, the result you’re definitely looking for is there? How do you know that it’s not in fact on page 53?

It’s a strange question of course, but one that we’ve never queried as we expect them to be doing everything right. Surely Google wouldn’t be pulling the wool over our eyes, right? I’ll leave this open for discussion.