Friday, March 23, 2018

Unfriending Facebook

Prophetic in 2010
I am trying to not do a “knee-jerk” reaction to the Facebook breach. First off it was not a breach. They gave away our personal information - Although I find this unlikely. Just how much they received for our personal information is yet to be told. Let’s face the facts – Facebook provides a free service and we are the ones that provide the information. In the dark recesses of my mind, I know we are giving up a lot for the privilege of connecting. Facebook's "bottom line" obligation is to make a profit for their stockholders. We are not Facebook’s customers - We are the product they market.  The advertisers and data miners are their customer – they pay.

Here is an example of something not being as benign as it appears on the surface: In 2014 Facebook added 56 new options for defining the gender of a person. If you changed your gender definition from male/female, consider what you just made available to data researchers. Anyone who has written a SQL query knows the power of a "SELECT" statement.   

Privacy is not one of our inalienable rights.  And like one of my friends stated once "If you aren't doing anything wrong, what do you have to hide?" However, there is data collection going on that can be detrimental - Medical records, financial transactions, relationship secrets. As said – "somethings are sacred". 

The Equifax credit bureau data breach put all of our most personal credit history out to bid last year. This was data collected without our permission and now disseminated without our permission. Worst of all Equifax is making millions from their incompetence by offering and selling us “protection”.  Almost as if the execution of a devious business plan. 

Do not look to the government to provide either privacy or security. Congress (political calls) are exempt from the "Do-Not-Call" list and congress has exempted itself from many rules we all are required to follow. Like locking your car and home, it is up to you. 

I do not willingly give up personal data. Example - Supermarket and drug chain “loyalty programs”.  It is a ploy to get our names, e-mails, phone numbers and they capture and link our purchase history. They sell this information and in return, we get targeted advertising. A minimal discount is not adequate compensation for the parsing of my shopping history. Sorry to be so cynical. 

Back to Facebook – Either they were naive, stupid or reckless. In any case, I do you want to trust my personal data to a company that is so irresponsible? The last persons I would have wanted to have all of my most personal information are Stephen Bannon and the vindictive Trump administration. I have already reviewed my settings and considering deleting my account. Although I am told your profile remains and is near impossible to clear. Why would they delete it? Remember, you are not the customer. 

If power corrupts, then access to a pure, unfettered stream of data on every American corrupts absolutely. Maybe this is the wake-up call we all needed.  I am re-thinking Facebook. 

Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement on his Facebook page:

We have a responsibility to protect your data, and if we can't then we don't deserve to serve you.

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