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Convenience vs. Privacy

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I recently came across an interesting article about a new service that Google is trying to launch called "Nearby," which will let other people, places, and things know when you are around. After reading the article, I immediately began thinking about the trade offs of convenience vs. privacy.

As a security practitioner, I am often torn between social networking advancements, corporate ethics, and our current legal system, wondering:

  • How can sharing my information benefit or harm me?
  • Besides not using technology is there any way to protect myself?
  • Do I have any expectation of privacy?
  • If social networking sites were not able to make money from my information, how much would it cost me to pay for the service to replace that revenue? Would I rather sacrifice my privacy than foot the bill for the service?

Gaining these types of advancements is impossible without sacrificing privacy. We rely heavily on our government and corporations to "do the right thing" with our information. But, at the end of the day, that data is literally worth billions. (Think Mark Zuckerberg.)

If you haven't already, check out the documentary "Terms and Conditions May Apply." (It's on Netflix.)

The funny thing is, everyone keeps talking about Snowden and the government, when I think a more significant risk lies with businesses. Although not perfect, the government has laws and oversight to hold them accountable? Businesses have us to hold them accountable. When is the last time you read a Privacy Policy?