Amy Jussel of Shaping Youth wrote a very important response to myencomium about Facebook, alerting us to Beacon, an invasive feature onFacebook that automatically charts your purchasing and political onlinechoices and broadcasts them to your friends. MoveOn and otherorganizations have worked against this feature which is not only aboutsurveillance and invasion of privacy but also micro-targetedadvertising based on your prior shopping preferenes. It aims this atkids, not just adults, on Facebook. In every way, this crosses theline and that's why I urge you to read Jussel's blog, to sign thepetition against Beacon, and to join "Facebook Don't Invade My Privacy." The clever "Facebooks Peepin's Creepin' Me Out" title is not mine--it is Jussel's excellent title for herblog at http://www.shapingyouth.org/blog?p=810. There is a linebetween convenience (I love the birthday alert function) andsurveillance--and Beacon crosses it. As Cory Doctorow insists, and as I often remind readers in this blog, for adults, we may well remember the "before" of privacy, the pre-911 idea that invasion of privacy and surveillance are not the same as "safety and security." But, for kids, even college-age kids, there is no "before." Safety and security and acquiescence to invasion of privacy are everyday life, protections against terrorism and other forms of violence. The implications for democratic life are appalling if a generation is growing up accepting state and commercial surveillance under the guise of protection. Or convenience. We must be on our guard, always, against this. Amy's Shaping Youth blog includes url's for excellent articles on this subject, instructions for how to get read of Beacon on your own Facebook page, a petition to sign against Facebook organized by MoveOn, and a user group against Beacon. I am copying Jussel's comment to my previous blog entry below and I urge you to read her whole blog entry and to take action. I still love my Facebook dawdling, but now I have my guard up.
"SHAPING YOUTH'S COMMENT, "FACEBOOK IS FUN BUT BEACON IS NOT"
I found myself nodding in agreement with your depiction of yourintermittent 'tavern' stop of intimacy on your Facebook profile, buthave to say, I'm not the least bit wild about the new 'opt-out' defaultcontrols of this busybody beacon that flags friends re: where you'vesurfed, shopped, or spent...WAY too invasive putting the controls inthe hands of marketers and the onus on users to 'opt-out' rather than'opt-in and share by choice' (by far my preference)
I just posted a ton of embedded links on the controversy (clearlyFacebook didn't learn their lesson in '06 when they auto-pinged infowidely to friends w/out asking) therefore, I have just officiallyjoined the "Facebook Don't Invade My Privacy" group of virtual friends.
Here's the article I just wrote on Shaping Youth that tells how toREMOVE the beacon, as well as a round-up of some of the recent pressand brouhaha. It's titled, "Facebook's peepin' is creepin' me out" http://www.shapingyouth.org/blog/?p=810
I'd like to think I can follow these steps to set my privacy controlsto eliminate my concerns and get back to the 'friendly tavern'fuzzies...
But right now I've got a hefty dose of obstinance and huff pushingback at Facebook's arrogance, setting default decisions that work inadvertiser's favor, not the greater good of John Q. Public. Bleh.
Might have to shift to a new tavern. Cheers...