Privacy was good while it lasted

by David Frum, CNN  |  published on March 19, 2013

privacy

To be a politician today is to live in some ways like a citizen of North Korea. A politician must assume that he or she is under 24-hour audio-visual surveillance. Any objectionable remark, any untoward joke, any awkward facial expression may be recorded and broadcast. Professional and personal ruin can strike at any moment.

If George Allen’s “macaca” moment didn’t drive home the point, Scott Prouty’s 47% video certainly should.

But it’s not only politicians who live under perpetual surveillance. We all do!

Earlier this month, researchers at Carnegie-Mellon University detailed how Facebook systematically erodes users’ privacy wishes.

“Researchers found that during the first four years, users steadily limited what personal data was visible to strangers within their school network. Yet through changes Facebook introduced to its platform in 2009 and 2010, the social network actually succeeded in reversing some users’ inclination to avoid public disclosure of their data.

In fact, the social network’s new policies were not only able to partly override an active desire not to post personal details publicly, but they have so far kept such disclosures from sinking back to their lower levels, according to the study. They also found that even as people sought to limit what strangers could learn about them from their Facebook profiles, they actually increased what information they shared with their friends.

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