I read an article last week about Internet privacy that got me thinking. I started thinking and realized I knew minimal about law. So I forwarded it to my friend, Henry Elster, at The Elster Law Office. He read it and wrote this insightful blog post about privacy and the Internet.
After reading his post, I realized it confirmed a lot of the issues I see with people and how they use the Internet. A simple interpretation of Henry’s post says this: Nothing is private on the Internet and the government does not have the power to change this. This lack of privacy is because the government can’t tell private corporations what to do. Google can track your emails to target you with advertisment. Facebook can do the same. They can do whatever they want as long as you check that box when signing up for an account (that no one reads).
We could get into an economic discussion about how consumer demand is a way to attack this lack of privacy. If consumers would simply stop using sites that invade their privacy and demand more privacy, it could cause sites to be forced to offer this. Will this ever happen? Doubtful. People want their facebook pages. People want to search Google. People may complain about privacy, but clearly (from traffic numbers) what they complain about is not neccessarily what they want.
So what do we do? We can’t just stop using Facebook and Google. I think the key is realizing this lack of privacy. Realize the Internet is a very public place. Treat it like work or church or any social place where you restrict how much you let people know about yourself. Don’t brag about how drunk you got the night before to your friends on Facebook. Don’t get in fickle arguments that could look like a political faux pa. Be smart.
Realize you are being watched on the Internet. Keep your thoughts that could incriminate you at home.