Warning: This is the stream of consciousness text behind the podcast. It may contain incomplete sentences, incorrect grammar, and other mistakes. JSYK
My favorite response Zuck gave to those Government official who don’t understand the internet, privacy, or sharing was, “Senator, we run ads.”
Ads have been the backbone of media since the beginning to time. I’m pretty sure the 10 commands contained an ad for the upcoming New Testament with a teaser for the Book of Mormon. Newspapers (remember those) contained ads. That’s why it was so cheap to buy them. ABC, CBS, NBC — remember when those were the only networks? Ok, maybe you don’t but those stations were and are free over the air. Why? Advertising.
Advertising pays for payroll, equipment, benefits, etc. Producing a TV series like Lucifer, one of my recent favorites, costs a shirt ton of money, and I don’t pay anything to watch it.
Then I start to think of the free services I use online. Gmail, Yahoo mail (yes it’s still a thing), Google Maps, Patreon, YouTube, Trello, Medium, Pocket, IMDB, Wikipedia, Yelp, IMGR, Reddit, Tinder, Grinder, Bumble, Kik, Twitter, SnapChat, LinkedIn, Facebook, Whatsapp, Instagram, HBO Go, Twitch, — the list goes on and one. Oh, and games like Sudoku, Words with Friends, Woody, Toy Blast, Candy Crush, Jetpack Joyride, Etc. Etc. Etc.
And why are these free? Two reasons. The first is that many of these run ads. Advertisers pay them and that makes the service free for me. Second is they are gathering information about me. Which I don’t mind if that is used to make the service better for me. Send me targeted ads. I dare you. Because now, the target ad market doesn’t work very well. I just get ads for things I already purchased. I do expect them to try to figure out what kinda of person I am. Determine what my beliefs are, what my politics are, what I do on the weekends. I expect this because I want recommendations on things to do in the area. Reminders of where I’ve been and I’ve love it if they could finally tell me where I want to eat tonight. But I do expect them to NOT to share or sell my information. A single service should hold my information secure unless I tell them to share with someone specific.
Some of these are essential services, like my email, banking, bill pay, etc. While others are places where I share things about me and my life — aka Social Media. This is where I share aspects of my life, my feelings, my vary soul. I do this because I like to share, and it’s all part of my brand, which is really just another word for the me I sell to the world.
I understand that if I share something on social media, even if it’s private, even if it’s just with ONE friend I actually physically know, they can find a way to share it with anyone else they want. Then those people can share it again. This can happen in real life, except social media has a much larger reach. My point is there is no privacy online — at least when YOU choose to SHARE it.
When you share, it is no longer a secret. In real life or online. And you know why? Don Henley knew. People love dirty laundry. They love faults. Every single fault. Even if it is not a fault, they will use it against you. Who is they? It’s the media. It’s online services. It’s your friends. It’s your coworkers. It’s everyone!! Its companies that want to use your secrets and personal and private information against you and to benefit them.
There is science to this, like the 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon. This theory says that everyone is connected with Kevin Bacon within 6 people. It works mostly for other actors, but it works for me too. You see I worked with this guy, whose daughter was in a movie with Ed Asner, who was in a movie with Kevin Bacon. So if Kevin shared something with Ed, who mentioned it to this girl, who mentioned it to her father, and he mentioned it to me — I’d know a Kevin Bacon secret!
But I’m sure you already know all of this, at least some of you do. Some of you don’t get that if you share something on line it’s not private. But if you don’t know or didn’t know, don’t worry, it’s all explained in the Terms of Service or TOS.
All websites that do business have a TOS. We have to agree to these terms before we can use anything. We are constantly checking boxes or clicking buttons saying we agree. But do we agree? Have we read the TOS? No one read the iTunes TOS but everyone clicked yes. And when you click yes or agree, you are giving away some of your rights.
But here’s the kicker — no normal person can read and understand any TOS. Let’s take me. I read between 100 and 150 words a minute with about a 60% comprehension. This means I’m not a fast reader, and sometimes I need to read things a few times to make sure I remember something. How did I find this out? A website, so take this with a grain of salt. But I do read kinda slow sometimes because my mind is transcendental and I don’t know my name even if I was hit with a rock made of sticky notes.
So I took a look at the TOS for some popular services and here is what I’ve found.
A recent app about ordering online food has 9734 words. That will take me about 65 minutes to read it and since it’s basically a legal document, I won’t comprehend everything the first time through.
Apple iOS 11.2 TOS, 6845, about 45 minutes.
FB Statement of Rights and Responsibilities is 3574, 25 minutes, but they have several documents that make of a typical TOS, so I’ll have to read a bunch of others too.
Apple Media (formerly iTunes) 6844, about 46 minutes.
What I’m getting at, is there is no way for an average person to read and understand all of this and half the population is below average intelligence.
Why am I saying all of this? Because the nature of who we are, how we interact in the world, and how are data is used is changing. I love the fact that Google knows a shirt ton of stuff about me. I want it to learn and grow and make it’s services fit my lifestyle. Or for them to recommend a new lifestyle!
The problem is, any data, private, personal, or public will always be abused by someone. No matter how many protections we put in place. So it’s time to think about it differently. And yes I used an adverb. Sorry. Really I am. Sorry. We need to think of data as something that is owned exclusive my each individual and that we choose exactly what any there person or service gets access to. We need to have a way to identify people 100% so that no more identity theft can occur. We need a way to make payments that cannot be stolen by someone and used. I don’t have the answer, but I know the answer are not what we are doing today. Not at all. We are at a stepping stone of technology before we can reach a pinnacle of security.
The only problem is, if you can access the information, so can someone else, no matter how secure.
It doesn’t bother me if you know what places I like to frequent. This is probably because I’m male. If I were a woman, I can see how she wouldn’t want everyone to know because then some dick stalker guy would follow her around and eventually rape her. And since the justice system is built to not believe women — it’s basically like rape is legal.
So maybe the solution isn’t technology to protect privacy, it’s a way to fix mental ill people and to fix men from being so damn ignorant and sexist against woman. But that’s a much more difficult task.
But for now, the fact my Google history shows I like transexual nun’s wearing unicorn horns and eating M&M porn doesn’t bother me, but thats because I’m an attention whore. One with a lot of dirty forking laundry.