More Web 2.0 fun?

 
 
By Jim Rapoza  |  Posted 2007-06-06 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Twitter.com doesn't reveal a lack of interest in privacy.

Finished editing really long podcast file, need to take a break. About 17 hours ago. Drove to band practice, listened to Minutemen CD in the car. "Tour spiel!" About 14 hours ago.
Gotta write my column. But what to write about? Wait, I know! Less than 20 seconds ago.
Well thats enough Twittering for now. Oh, you dont know what Twittering is? Its the latest in utterly self-indulgent Web 2.0 fun. At Twitter.com, millions of people are constantly answering one question: What are you doing right now? Its sort of like a blog but without all of that, you know, actual content. As I look at Twitter.com right now, some of the fascinating content includes a person going to get Indian food, someone waiting to get into a breakfast joint and a guy who has just signed up for DirecTV. Wow! What will happen next?
I have to admit that Twitter is one of those things that makes me feel like an old fogy. Even though Im a cutting-edge, tech kinda guy, the whole constant-connection thing is one that just doesnt connect with me. But I can definitely understand why this is a hit with the younger crowd. Every sub-25-year-old that I know is constantly on his or her cell phone, and the subject of 99 percent of the calls is similar to Twitters content: "Hey, whatcha doin?" "Nothing, what are you doing?" "Watching Futurama." "Cool, talk to you later." Heck, if Twitter cuts down on even half of the calls like that, its doing society a great service. But there is one thing about Twitter.com that does actually disturb me, and it has nothing to do with the service itself. The thing that bugs me is that its being used as yet another sign that people today dont care about privacy and that maybe we dont even need to have privacy controls. Youve probably heard some of these arguments. They usually go something like, "Look at all these people blogging, MySpacing and Twittering. They are putting intimate details about their daily lives up for the entire world to see. This proves that privacy is dead and the vast majority of people dont care." But to me, this argument gets everything wrong. This is sort of like saying, "Hey, look at how many people speed in their cars, cheat a bit on their taxes and steal small paper items from their employers. This clearly proves that the law is dead and most people dont care about obeying any laws." Obviously there are different levels of privacy, and the point at which it becomes an issue is different for everyone. For example, Im a pretty gregarious person and Im usually not shy about telling people about lots of elements of my daily life. Ive blogged about places Ive traveled, bands Ive seen and restaurants where Ive eaten, and, of course, given my opinion publicly about a whole host of issues. But you better believe that I care deeply about my privacy. Just because Im free with certain details about my life doesnt mean that I want there to be giant databases out there that can combine all my data into a disturbingly detailed picture of my life that any company (or identity thief) could then use against me. It also doesnt mean that I want to make it possible for governments or corporate entities to be able to track me through RFID, cell phones or identity cards no matter where I go. And I think a lot of people share the same no-return line of privacy. Even the most avid Twitterers and social networkers dont want to have their identities stolen or have their employers know exactly where they are 24/7. So no, privacy isnt dead. And you should be suspicious of anyone who is telling you that it is dead and that people dont care about privacy controls. Im willing to bet that more often then not, the person saying that represents a business or organization that would profit from lessened privacy controls. Sorry, hang on one second. Theres just one thing I have to do right now. Finished column on how Web 2.0 doesnt mean that privacy is dead. Time for snack. Mmm, chocolate-dipped almond biscotti. Less than three seconds ago. Check out eWEEK.coms Security Center for the latest security news, reviews and analysis. And for insights on security coverage around the Web, take a look at eWEEKs Security Watch blog.
 
 
 
 
Jim Rapoza, Chief Technology Analyst, eWEEK.For nearly fifteen years, Jim Rapoza has evaluated products and technologies in almost every technology category for eWEEK. Mr Rapoza's current technology focus is on all categories of emerging information technology though he continues to focus on core technology areas that include: content management systems, portal applications, Web publishing tools and security. Mr. Rapoza has coordinated several evaluations at enterprise organizations, including USA Today and The Prudential, to measure the capability of products and services under real-world conditions and against real-world criteria. Jim Rapoza's award-winning weekly column, Tech Directions, delves into all areas of technologies and the challenges of managing and deploying technology today.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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