Facebook and the Battle for Privacy

With the Facebook data breach comes yet another data breach. The result is that the senate is starting to step in more seriously in pushing Facebook on protection over user privacy. On the outset, it seems as though the government wants to enforce a blanket policy for companies to allow users to own their data (with Facebook particularly in mind here). But is there more to this than meets the eye?

I’m someone who never truly trusts most people. People are unreliable and prove to have selfish, ulterior motives. Companies and the government often are some of the worst offenders as their goals are to control people for their own gain. Few people would argue against these notions.

So I call into question one of the so-called proponents for privacy on the government’s side. It’s said that a number of people involved in the hearings will be people who received campaign contributions from Facebook directly. With more people dropping out of Facebook as a result of the recent scandal, I’m wondering if Facebook is attempting to coerce the government into appearing to care about user privacy.

That’s an important thing to ask in this situation as Facebook has proven to be a useful tool for the government in a variety of manners. If people suddenly leave Facebook then the government (or governments) lose a key tool in spying and controlling people. Thus, in order to placate people’s fears on privacy, the government must at the very least seem to have good intentions on the users’ behalf.

From my viewpoint, I think people shouldn’t really get too crazed on the situation. The main things to understand about any type of entity which records your data in some form of capacity is that you should limit what you feel is sensitive. Hence, angry posts that have threats should certainly be off limits in any context unless you’re fine by that. Same with any deviant behavior that you feel the public should not know about.

Also, you should not install Facebook on your phone or Messenger for that matter. You really lose control over what can be done by those applications the moment you install it and Facebook lacks the ethics to be trust in terms of what data they are mining. There’s really no good reason not to use straight SMS for communicating.

I feel that companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter ought to be public utilities at best. Breaking those companies up or repurposing them with some form of government oversight/regulations might solve some of the more urgent issues we face such as cost of living that spikes up, the competitive nature of the tech industry and how information gets used.

At any rate, it is scary what’s going on in the industry but the real issue is how we value things. People need to understand the implications of using a tool like Facebook and what it’s real value is. I don’t think we’ll see another version emerge at least in its current form.  It’s just not something that I feel adds real value without a heavy price to pay.

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