Privacy Screen?

February 18, 2008

Patio Privacy Screen

If you feel as if you’re living in a fish bowl when you’re lounging on the patio, we’ve got the solution. This simple, airy screen will block all but the most persistent prying eyes.

With all the fun and excitement about the Internet – social networking, blogs, websites, instant messaging – it’s easy to forget that big organizations are probably collecting a lot of information on you. I only recently started actively managing my cookies. (I have no interest in having Amazon.com managing my shopping experience online.) Along with the growing body of stories about outrageous e-mail gaffes by people who don’t know what Reply-to-All means, there are stories about relationships being torpedoed, job interviews fizzling, love affairs being discoverd because of Googling, Facebook, MySpace, and other public and not so public postings.

In an opinion today in the New York Times, Adam Cohen (yes, you’ll have to enable cookies and register to see the whole article) relates:

In a visit to the editorial board not long ago, a top Google lawyer made the often-heard claim that in the Internet age, people — especially young people — do not care about privacy the way they once did.

I suspect, rather, that the implications of the Internet keyboarding hasn’t hit them yet, hasn’t been brought him to them in a clear and brutal way (lucky them) and not that they just don’t care. Either that, or they just haven’t thought of it yet, or don’t understand the technology. As Cohen says next:

It is a convenient argument for companies that make money compiling and selling personal data, but it’s not true. Protests forced Facebook to modify Beacon and to ease its policies on deleting information. Push-back of this sort is becoming more common.

Well, I hope so.

And while we are on the subject, I just don’t get the economics of the Web! Google makes billions off of its advertising offers, but I have not yet clicked on more than a single handful of ads on the Internet in my ten years or more on the Web!! I don’t get it. I know that I may not be representative, but I have found that adds on Google are worthless: I am a very directed shopper. I know what I want, and I search for it. They say the Internet isn’t free because we pay with our attention, but who’s checking to see if we are paying?

When I have tried to do research on this point, all I find is confusion and debate. Is this another example of everyone doing it (advertising on the Web) because everyone else is doing it, and you cannot afford to be seen not doing it? Is anyone benefitting from it – besides Google? Is this consumer-chatter-clutter the price we have to pay for the use of the Internet?