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Information breeds control

A stray and obvious thought?

If you look at the issue of privacy at social networking sites in terms of information, as outside observers such as parents and governments frequently do, you come up with proposals to enable users to control their information.

But sites like Facebook aren’t about information. They’re about self, others, and the connections among them. Likewise Flickr isn’t about info; it’s about sharing photos.

If the issue gets phrased in terms of info, then the field tilts towards assuming privacy as the good and publicness as the threat, with control over info as the bulwark. But, within the participant’s frame, publicness is taken as the good and privacy as fear-based or selfish.

This is a case where an information-based view misses the phenomenon and can lead to bad policy decisions.

Also, our kids will think we’re dorks.

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