Online privacy: railing against the accepted

A Pew Internet survey shows that more Internet users now accept Big Brother at work and think that information about them on the Internet is accurate

The survey includes a section on people searching for information about themselves on the Internet -- 47 per cent of the Pew respondents do. When they do, Pew reports that most of them find what they expected to find and almost all say that the information is accurate. While there have been some horror stories in the press about gossip Web sites destroying the employability of some recent college graduates, that does not seem to the norm. The Pew report notes that only 11 per cent of respondents thought that information about their political party affiliation was online but fails to mention that many donations to political campaigns now wind up online (not all; at least I do not find some I made).

I've only covered a small part of the Pew report. Other things, such as people Googling their dates and a few people trying to limit the online info about them, are also discussed.

It's a good read but I came away more uncomfortable with the state of privacy in today's world than comfortable. Maybe that is the message that Pew meant to convey.

Disclaimer: I expect that Harvard was not one of the Pew respondents, but even if it was, the raw data is confidential (I assume) and I could not find out its opinions, thus the above must reflect my thoughts.

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Scott Bradner

Network World
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