Trusting Facebook and Google with privacy


Google has admitted to collecting data from unsecured Wi-Fi connections, while Facebook is being criticised for broadening the visibility of users’ content. Are we as a society starting to question where the big online players are placing the boundaries of our privacy?

Sydney-sider Nona Belomesoff was murdered after meeting two strangers on Facebook. Social media can’t be held responsible, but it is becoming easier to move into other peoples’ inner sanctum of personal content. Here’s a useful graphical representation of how Facebook has loosened its approach to privacy over the years.

I don’t think we’re asking for these changes. It’s more to do with fuelling the engine that increases growth and dependency on these sites.

We’re also seeing more data being used to track who we are and what we’re doing online. Google is stepping beyond tracking search results and website visits, to tie in location and devices. This might result in more useful services, but is there also a danger that they’ll overstep the privacy boundary?

Do we need to consider some form of regulation to protect our privacy, or will society attitudes ensure self-regulation?

Discussing these issues on this week’s Twisted Wire:

  • Stilgherrian, the ZDNet Australia blogger who quit Facebook last week
  • Thomas Crampton, Asia-Pac director of 360 Digital Influence, the social media arm of Ogilvy
  • Alistair MacGibbon, former director of the Australian High Tech Crime Centre, these days running the Surete Group.

First published on ZDNet

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