Open Discussion About Privacy

Over the last few days, I’ve been asked for advice following the Facebook scandal. Understandable members of our council have also asked about our Facebook feed on our site. I decided that it would be best to share my input on one site for all to read.

You have to understand that one core principle of the internet and privacy; nothing is free. Just like the offline world, nothing is free. Everything has a cost. Think about the datacenters, security staff, and all the other overhead for companies to offer services. They are companies and therefore are in the business to make money, so how can they monetize a “free” service? Your information, your activities, and your views are their product. They make money by selling you and your information. These companies are turning your information and the information that they mine you to advertising companies to use as they see fit. The more customers information that they can mine for resale the more they can make.

This isn’t inherently bad. Google, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, and to lesser degrees Microsoft all do use this practice to offer “free services.” As long as you are aware of this fact and understand that you are how they can make the services free so be it. If you want a more secure and private online experience you need to turn to a company that uses all end-to-end encryption. This prevents them from using your personal data to sell it to others. These companies, Apple being one of the largest, specify that you are not their product. While they do offer “free services,” like iCloud or software updates, and iTunes they make their profit and costs off of their products you buy to use those services.

Our society is has gotten to the point where they want something for nothing and have forgotten the old idiom that you get nothing for free. You want quality journalism, then you have to pay for the research arms of news organizations that do the fact-checking. Otherwise, you are stuck with sites like Infowars.info that says anything they want without being required to prove their facts are truthful. You have to remember that if you want an e-mail that is private and secure you have to pay for it. Otherwise, you are giving Google, Microsoft, or Yahoo access to offer you e-mail in exchange for information they can sell or use to make a profit.

It’s all about personal preference. We offer our social network feeds as a service to our members to keep you informed. We understand that Facebook, Google+, Youtube, and Twitter are going to use our information to sell ads or push content, but it allows us to reach the younger viewers and those ingulfed on their networks.

As for myself, I’m usually very wary about social media. I post my opinions and I don’t believe any of the “news” that comes into my newsfeed until I verify it from a source I completely trust. I use Google and Facebook for e-mail and online chat, but I’m very careful to not mention anything that I feel I need to keep private. I use end-to-end encryption and services like iMessage and FaceTime to talk where I don’t want the data going online where anyone can read it. You have the option to use these free services but know the cost. If you do decide that the cost is too rich for your blood that is your choice. You can go to the article from iMore.com and follow the steps to delete or better secure your account. Either path you take I hope this information helps you and remember to stay safe online.

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