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Should you own your own data?

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Definition

The definition should be a fairly obvious one - you only have the right to revoke information you have published, anything more would be copyright or libel enforcement via the backdoor.

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FAIL

So if...

one of your 'mates' or enemies published your personal details you wouldn't be able to ask for it to be taken down?

Not as 'fairly obvious' as you thought, eh!

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Grenade

Technology ending badly.

This is not a '1984' problem, Science Fiction fans, it is a 'Fahrenheit 451' problem.

In case you didn't get the point:

People spending all their time protecting 'Their Own Data' = Dark Ages

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Gold badge

Those malicious commenters

Surely one could phrase the law such that it is the author's responsibility to respect the privacy of others. If I give personal information to a third party under an assumption of privacy, and they publish it on Facebook, I'll be pissed off with the third party, not Facebook. However, if Facebook publish stuff that I've previously given to them under assumptions of privacy, that's different.

Quite separate is the question of what to do once the information has been published. However, the law usually takes the position that if you weren't allowed to publish it in the first place then others aren't allowed to publish it after you do. It's a bit like handling stolen goods.

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Big Brother

Don't be evil

Every time I hear Google's "Don't be evil", I think of the Martians in the film Mars Attacks shouting "We come in peace!" as they engage in wholesale slaughter. An absurd correlation to an absurd movie, but "Don't be evil" is an absurd slogan for a company.

Facebook is at least as pernicious as it evolved from a couple dozen universities to the monstrosity it is today. People fail to realise that Google's and Facebook's customers are the advertisers, and the users are in fact the product they sell.

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Badgers

Really now Big Brother.

"People fail to realise that Google's and Facebook's customers are the advertisers, and the users are in fact the product they sell."

The next thing you'll be telling me is "Soylent Green is People"

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Coat

No!

And here's me thinking it was soy, lentils and tartrazine! Oh noes!

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Badgers

No such thing as a free lunch

"People fail to realise that Google's and Facebook's customers are the advertisers, and the users are in fact the product they sell."

True 'nuf, as it goes, but OTOH you can't run a Facebook for nothing, and users disdain to pay for such stuff with anything so vulgar as actual money.

As a result, what they end up paying with is their personal data, an aggregation of which can be swapped for money.

In this sense, the personal data you give is the currency with which you pay for your 'free' stuff. If people didn't expect to get everything for free and everyone was prepared to pony up some actual currency to the likes of Facebook, they wouldn't need to be hawking your social graph out the back door in order to pay for their air conditioning.

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Nah

If Soylent Green was people it would have a MUCH higher fat content ;)

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Happy

LOLZ

Now, to clean up my keyboard.

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Anonymous Coward

Answers.

"Do individuals have any rights on the Intertubes, or are we just here to generate marketing information for large web companies?"

No, and yes. We need a revolution.

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FAIL

Bring it down, Bring it down!

You can't post about how stupid I am!

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Stop

Actually, I like the chill

"A bigger problem, surely, is that personal information is so weakly defined in HR 5108 that it would be used to censor reporting.

"European privacy legislation is already used in this way: it's had a chilling effect as celebrities use it to keep even established, previously reported facts from being reprinted."

I disagree. There needs to be a public interest defence that allows reporting of certain "private" information (e.g. the sort of things that British MPs had been purchasing out of their expenses). However, I am sick, disgusted and aggressively disinterested in the prurient bile published as "news" by the likes of The Sun and The Star here in the UK. If celebrity A sleeps with B, it's between them and their loved ones. I don't want to know.

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Joke

Sir

"If celebrity A sleeps with B, it's between them and their loved ones. I don't want to know."

Then I'm guessing you're not female*.

</ducks>

*of the type that buys Hello, OK, Heat, Closer. My wife buys that shit, I have to contract just to fund her gossip habit!

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Anonymous Coward

Wrong angle

I'd like to own all my data. Yes I do. But I care much more about not needing to give out any personal information in the first place than trying to get it back after I had to give it out for some reason. Most reasons are fairly senseless, attempts to ``pin someone down'' often for very little reason at all, and for the cases where there is a reasonable reason, we need to try and find ID technology that does what is wanted (say, enable tracking down a loan defaulter) without having to give out the information ``just in case''. If that sounds ludicrous, it's because we don't have the infrastructure that can do that, yet. But we need it, and the need will get worse, if we don't want to end up in a continuous surveilance state, commercial, quango-run, or both. Because just like large amounts of money, heaps of info tend to converge and become more.

So no, this law isn't going to help anybody much but it'll create a lot of hassle nonetheless. But at least somebody, somewhere, is thinking about privacy, if in the wrong way, from the wrong angle, and coming up with the wrong fix. What else is new?

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Silver badge

When can you close the barn door?

Here's the thing, when it comes to reporting the traditional indignant yarn spun is that "the public has a right to know". Too often the system lets that slide and never actually asks the question, what does the public have a right to know? Clearly there are bounds and like any right they stop when they interfere with rights of another. Does the public have a _right_ to know how many squares I use to wipe my arse? No. If someone posts that I use 3.16228 squares after steak and 3.46410 squares after a Jalfrezi, so long as they aren't asking me to wait while they get the count right, who cares?

I guess in the end it comes down to a reasonable expectation of privacy and you certainly have every right to rescind any posts you make. The sticking point with Facebook et al. is all in the expectation and Facebooks constant changing of the rules. In the long run it probably won't matter and Facebook will either get their act together or change into Fadebook as users expectations go elsewhere.

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Silver badge

Social what?

I think of "social networking" the same way I think of "social disease", and take steps to protect myself from the likes of !GooMyFaceYouTwit.

Start with a basic firewall (your DSL modem will work in a pinch), dump Windows for a Mac or Linux/BSD system, religiously keep your system(s) patched, and throw in a few tools like AdBlockPlus, FlashBlock, NoScript and BetterPrivacy. Perfect? No, probably not ... but you'll be a hell of a lot less likely to have your identity pinched than your friends, family & neighbors.

Privacy starts at home. Educate yourself. Learn why you have drapes allowing you to see out whenever you like, but still block the outside world from seeing in.

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Anonymous Coward

i'm disappointed...

...It took you almost the whole article to work in a barb at Google. I would have expected something about a chocolate factory or oompa loompas by the second paragraph at latest.

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Anonymous Coward

Ah, now we know why...

... micros~1 named their ballmer-come-lately thing what they did.

GeoGooMyFaceYouTwitHoo...Bing!

There's probably something very zen about the sound of a chair thrown.

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Grenade

The Hell With Web Sites

I think this policy should apply to the major credit reporting bureaus and other companies internal databases. Its MY name and address, you have no right to buy, sell or trade it. If companies were required to pay residuals every time they bought, sold or traded personal information the data mining companies would be out of business over night.

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Anonymous Coward

I agree, but a point of correction..

Your name and address is not personal information - it's publicly available (for free). It is the connection between this public information and REAL private information (habits, sexual orientation, health, etc) that should be controlled.

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FAIL

Only not

"Your name and address is not personal information - it's publicly available (for free)."

Mine isn't.

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Thumb Up

That's just the tip of the iceberg

And we're the Titanic. You can't even begin to guess how many organizations and businesses collect and sell information about you every day of the week. Maybe we need a "do not collect and sell" list like the "Do not Call" list.

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Megaphone

With sufficient personal information, I can control you

Absolutely yes, but I'm betting it will never happen. The default should be "Possession is 9 points of the law" and they should be required to store our personal data on our OWN storage (of course with checksums to prevent tampering), and they (even including the guys with silent black helicopters) should be required to ask nicely whenever they want to see or use our personal data--and say WHY.

Good luck, Mr Phelps.

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Grenade

Expectation of privacy

People should expect none, unless they are dealing with an organisation which has an expectation of trust, e.g. government, hospital, bank.

If you supply your private information to anyone who asks for it, then it won't be private for very long.

If you told MyTweetFace what you look like, where you live and what your sexual perversions are, then don't be surprised when they either sell or publish that information.

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FAIL

The law says our data are belong to us.

And the law says YOUR data are belong to us too.

If you steal our data, you are belong to us.

And if you want YOUR data back, you are belong to us too.

And WE'RE called the freetards? Up yours.

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Throw them out

Indeed, the new industry of selling personal information is the new 21st century version of when the first money lender lent his first money, way back then.

It was immoral then and it's immoral now.

Throw them out.

"Information should be neither bought nor sold"

(tm)

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Anonymous Coward

If your stupid enough to post

anything about your self on the web that you would shout in the street, you deserve everything you get.

God, the human race is soooo small minded.

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FAIL

I'm lost here...

The Web commercial imperative requires that companies harvest saleable information and sell it. Peoples personal is harvestable and saleable. However, there is a whole set of additional and inferrable data to be derived. Protecting 'personal' data is a first step.

However, in the uncompetitive world that is the WWW if you want to make use of a service then it is almost inevitable that you must give over personal data - or you don't get the service. The T&C will allow the supplier certain use rights within the law. How much would HR 5108 do about the 'inferrable data' which is just as saleable?

The only defenses for those interested in privacy are not to use the web services, use "paid for" services that give you control over "your data" or become sufficiently web savvy to recognise the risks. Otherwise, put up with it or back legislation to punish the worst excesses of the unconvicted.

When you have governments & commerce throwing personal data around like confetti one can easily become de-moralized and say FIA.

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Happy

I've got a hammer ...

... with a nail imperative. And I've got a commercial imperative. Want to buy it ?

Hope you are a little less lost now, Cowboy. BTW, you forgot to ask me where I got the hammer.

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Anonymous Coward

Cato

Cato arguing against enforcing individual's property rights? Who would have guessed that a right-wing corporation funded think-tank/lobby group would side with corporations against individuals.

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