Senate will look at security again – do users really care?

May 17, 2011

The U.S. Senate, having just held hearings on the state of Internet privacy in our fair land, have decided to do it again in a few days time. With users happily and freely giving away their information, does anyone really care?

The Senate will be holding more hearings this week on the subject of location privacy, one tiny corner of the overall Internet information privacy issue, but one with which Senators seems to be to be semi-obsessed. Representatives of Google and Apple are expected to show up, as is a rep from Facebook, according to a CNET article. They will once again be talking about how companies in the mobile industry handle the retention of information about where their customers are and when. Some Senators feel that the companies are retaining too much and other feel that they are retaining too little, apparently dependent on which side of the Big Brother Aisle they are on.

While these hearings are going on, these same companies are fighting a proposed bill in California that would create a new set of privacy regulations to be followed in the state. At least Facebook, Twitter, and Google are opposed to the law, according to a PCWorld story, and it is likely that other tech companies will appear in opposition. There is much at stake in hearings and laws on internet privacy matters. Most internet companies would seem to want no laws at all, since they want as much internet user  information as possible, generally in order to sell it to other companies. Governments and their law enforcement agencies want it in order to play Big Brother.

With all of this going on, it would appear that most users don’t really care. The people that these regulations would protect, if adopted, seem perfectly happy to give away almost any kind of information on Facebook, and millions of users work very hard to give away their location information freely to location-based social networks. There is a disconnect here, of course, but internet users have apparently been brainwashed to believe that their private information should be public anyway, so why not just put it out there for everyone to see and use?

There’s a sucker born every minute, and with today’s birth rate, apparently many more than that.

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