Dodgy Privacy Settings on Site

Privacy?  I value it, just like everyone else.  Am I skeptical of how businesses use my information? Yes, ma’am.

In class, we discussed how the different entertainment service providers we subscribe to use our information and the sometimes dodgy practices described very sneakily in end user license agreements.  As a homework assignment last week, my classmates investigated his/her favorite websites’s privacy agreements.  For example,  on “Site,” (changing the names to protect the guilty…) the recommended privacy settings from the company merely suggest location and contact information should be available to friend connections only.

Really?  I don’t want my other information and sporadic typage available to the generic public.  And for the record, my contact information is online, it is available via LinkedIn.  However, I made the choice to place that information in the public sphere so employers could find something which presents me in a professional fashion, should a potential employer search for me on Google.  And with these entertainment service providers, the default privacy settings are sometimes very, very public.

My classmates suggested how in an ideal world, companies would tell users how they store data, whether it would be sold, and how long the data set would persist in storage after being collected, among other things.  Also, if a website could direct you to the privacy settings first after registering (instead of, say, to a rundown on the timewaster bells-and-whistles features of the site), that would be so great as well.

All we want is control, and when it is taken out of our hands, it is disconcerting and frustrating.

Name, gender, profile picture, and geographic network “are all that are required to be visible to everyone” if you use Site.  Really?  What if I already made the connections I want to make and am just maintaining them at this point?

On an unrelated sports note, it appears the Yankees won.  Good.  All my coworkers were flipping out this afternoon trying to watch the game and keep an eye on the score, as opposed to being actually productive.  I could care less.  Until hockey season starts up…then I will be the fool watching TV instead of working.

Back to privacy.  To Site’s credit, there is far more “For Dummies” information explaining to users how to navigate the privacy policy than there used to be.  Heck, such a tutorial didn’t exist even a few months ago.  Or maybe it did.  Perhaps I need to pay better attention to my favorite websites.

And yes, I do find it creepy when ad bars on any search site or website start correlating to my search terms.  I find this more often on search sites I don’t use.  Google is actually really good right now about not posting creeper ads next to my search results.  (Please don’t ruin it now, Google.)  Simultaneously, is the iGoogle different from regular Google?  Maybe it is the Google version that I am using that makes the difference.

Plus, iGoogle sounds and looks trendier.  Like iPods and iPads, but search engines instead.

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About sunlightsnow

I am working 40 hours and going to school full-time, which means what little life I can lead will be consumed with work, schoolwork, and sleeping.
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