Locksmack

Technology, Web Development, Philosophy and more…

Why most (not all) Internet privacy concerns are silly

I read about Internet privacy concerns in the media often, and am bombarded with these concerns at my job – but I think most arguments about how the Internet gods (Google, Apple, Microsoft) are stealing personal information are not of concern at all. Here’s why…

Let me preface this post by stating upfront that I am not referring to the obvious problematic personal information like bank/credit card details, but rather search history, browsing and shopping habits and other superficial information that is often automatically collected.

What is the concern? What problems do people see coming from third parties collecting this information from you? The obvious use for companies wanting to extract this information is for targeted advertising – perhaps showing an ad for BMW if you have been searching for cars recently. I for one absolutely welcome targeted advertising. If a website is going to shove ads down my throat, at least they may be somewhat relevant to me. I would rather google make me aware of a special on sports cars, than tell me that my tampon isn’t absorbent enough. This makes for happier users and happier advertisers. Who loses?

Unless you are the president of a country, do you think anyone cares what you are googling? Don’t kid yourself that there is a team of people dedicated to stealing your identity based on your Internet habits – you, just like me, are (most likely) not all that exciting to the powers that be. No one cares if I look up erectile dysfunction (this is an example! :p) or pornography, and why should they? I have nothing to hide from the world, and if you think you do, you may want to have a chat with a councillor.

Anywho, I would love some feedback on this. As with every point of view, there is always another and I would love for people to show me why I am wrong. Please post below.

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2 Responses to “Why most (not all) Internet privacy concerns are silly”

  • Dan Walsh says:

    Like we chatted about the other day, alternative search engine DuckDuckGo makes some interesting (and compelling) arguments against search and click tracking.

    For your reference:
    http://dontbubble.us/
    http://donttrack.us/

    • locksmack says:

      Hey Dan. Yes, you definitely showed me some stuff I was not aware of. I am still not convinced that Google changing organic search results based on previous searches/clicks is really a bad thing. Think about it – google does not make money off this change, they have done it to attempt to improve their users results. You can turn it off if you want anyway so not a big deal. I’m still not concerned…

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