Commentary
11/14/2014
11:35 AM
Grumpy IT Guy
Grumpy IT Guy
Commentary

Privacy: Zuck Is Not The Devil

Facebook's new privacy rules? No reason to get grumpy. US Department of Justice's new "overly friendly skies"? Worthy of outrage.



8 Doomsday Predictions From Yesterday And Today
8 Doomsday Predictions From Yesterday And Today
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

Admit it: Like me, I bet you are tired of people whining about privacy, especially when they have a choice in the matter. Don't like the new Facebook privacy rules? Don't use Facebook. You won't catch Grumpy IT Guy on Facebook. Grumpy IT Guy wants to stay in the Grumpy Protection Program. People who use Facebook opted in. But nobody opted in for the US Department of Justice or any other government agency to spy on them, as reported yesterday by The Wall Street Journal.

First, the Facebook whining. Let us review the logic. Company offers you free service. As has been said many times, if you're not paying for the product, you are the product. You sign up while knowing this.

Then, when they treat you like the product, you get grumpy? Hey, I am all about grumpy. I revel in my grumpiness. But whining about Facebook's intrusiveness when you bloody well know how intrusive they are when you sign up is kind of like this:

You: Please punch me in the face.

(Punch in face received)

You: Hey! Why did you punch me in the face?

(Source: Andrea Allen)
(Source: Andrea Allen)

Not to blame the victim, but when you ask for it, when you know it, when you sign up anyway for the Facebook punch in the face, you should not complain.

The Register, that bastion of gossip news about technology, said Thursday, "Facebook's plain English data policy: WE'LL SELL YOU LIKE A PIG at a fair." Call the press! Facebook is selling you to advertisers! And that has changed, how exactly?

But the government? Once again overstepping, this time with surveillance planes that mimic cellphone towers and track your movements. In "Americans' Cellphones Targeted In Secret US Spy Program," The Washington Post said: "The program bears some resemblance to the National Security Administration's dragnet approach to collecting information while tracking terrorists."

[No surprise here: Americans Doubt They Can Protect Their Privacy.]

The DoJ told The Wall Street Journal that "agencies comply with the law when it comes to surveillance." Goody. Because we all know that keeping track of my grandmother's location while she is on the phone with me complaining about her lumbago will keep the country safer.

InformationWeek's Eric Zeman pointed out about the Justice Dept. surveillance effort: "That spiffy new encryption baked into Android 5.0 Lollipop and iOS 8? Yeah, it doesn't provide any defense."

I am tired of this broad surveillance in the name of catching crooks. Surveil them, not me or grandma. We didn't opt in for that.

When Facebook starts buddying up and flying the friendly skies with the US DoJ to collect information about you, you can get grumpy about Facebook and privacy. In the meantime, save the outrage for where it belongs.

Just 30% of respondents to our new Big Data and Analytics Survey say their companies are very or extremely effective at identifying critical data and analyzing it to make decisions, down from 42% in 2013. What gives? Get the The Trouble With Big Data issue of InformationWeek Tech Digest today. (Free registration required.)

Grumpy IT Guy avoided historic disasters and clueless people while working his way up the IT ranks, but he retained his keen sense of humor. He now leads an IT organization somewhere in America, as part of the FBI's Grump Protection Program. Need advice? Send questions to ... View Full Bio
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