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Internet Governance 14 September 2010

A thought during the Future of Privacy Workshop

Today while sitting in The Future of Privacy Workshop, Room 4 (11.30 to 13.30) I noticed something quite interesting, amusing and simultaneously kind of worrying.

From my seat at the back I had a view of several laptop screens and could see the general business of everybody in front, people were in general, emailing messages or taking notes on the Workshop while several others I noticed, were logged into Facebook.

One of the topics that was brought up was the issue of Facebook with a discussion of the potential problems and dangers with today’s online privacy, the example being that even with their recent updates in informing users of how their data is being used, Facebook still doesn’t utilize the much available real-estate space on the home page to explicitly state how your data and status updates for example are publicised.

After mentioning these issues with Facebook, a surprising thing happened; several more people actually “logged in” to Facebook, in spite of just being reminded of the problems.  Basically, a “warning” about a product had actually brought about increased use.  This brought me to wonder that are we going down the wrong path with simply reminding people and warning them of the dangers. Similarly, it could also demonstrate the true power of social media simply rests with an idea or a suggestion and this approach is something to be adopted by those trying to inform civil society of the dangers.

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Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

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