Social networking privacy – no big deal?

Here is an article by Declan McCullagh who basically subscribes to Mark Zuckerberg’s view of privacy which is that people have grown more comfortable with more self-disclosure on the Internet.  He backs this claim up by citing how people have accepted social networking websites and technologies without complaint.  But I think this is a misleading view of how people feel about privacy.

Have people gotten comfortable with their banks adding fees for ATM transactions?  Millions use their cards and incur these fees.  Therefore they must be “comfortable.”  I would argue that acceptance of the downside to new technology is different than comfort.  When people get burned by identity theft or having personal information actually used against them, they aren’t likely to respond with indifference.  People will still react powerfully and perhaps incoherently to actual invasions of their privacy which is why they need to be actively engaged in setting privacy settings and standards.

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