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Quote of the day

October 21, 2007

It comes from Petteri Koponen, cofounder of Jaiku, Google's latest acquisition:

“To date, many people still maintain their illusion of privacy.”

Apparently, Google's PR folks haven't yet had their little sit-down with Mr. Koponen.

UPDATE AND CORRECTION: The New York Times goofed. Petteri Koponen points out to me, in an email, that the Times story, from which I drew the above quote, was an edited version of a story that appeared originally in the International Herald Tribune. In the Herald Tribune story, the quote is clearly attributed to Chris Messina, not to Koponen:

All this obviously opens up some serious questions about privacy, and about whether people are prepared to be constantly traceable, even if only by friends. Koponen said Jaiku was aware of this, and was working hard to allow users to limit the information they share, without making the service too complicated.

But Messina sees it the other way around: The users are the ones who need to adapt, not the service.

"To date, many people still maintain their illusion of privacy," he said in an e-mail message.

Messina is an entrepreneur and blogger and unaffiliated with Jaiku or Google.

The Times version of the story was garbled and mistakenly attributed the quote to Koponen:

All this opens serious questions about privacy, and about whether people are prepared to be constantly traceable, even if only by friends. Mr. Koponen said Jaiku was aware of this and was working hard to allow users to limit the information they share, without making the service too complicated.

“To date, many people still maintain their illusion of privacy,” he said in an e-mail message.

I apologize for repeating the error.

Comments

I don't know about Koponen, but if he is as clever as his co-founder Jyri, his take might be more insightful then a PR glitch: could you define privacy and try to figure out how it mergers into a digital world? Things aren't that easy, are they? Not having the walls of your house to hide protection behind a cosy feel doesn't help. Should you be notified when a friends forwards one of your e-mails? Should you be able to prevent it? Doesn't that infringes on your friend of the third person's privacy?
The odds around non-copiable PDFs, over-run by OCR technology or even Adobe's own programs is fun, in that matter.

Having a photo of Samy (the Subject) kissing Beatrix (the Bride) behing taken by Ursula (the Up-loader) by mistake, but tagged by Tristan, as he know Ursula through work, and recognizes B. as the friend of a friend showing-up in Greg (the Groom) News feed on Facebook -- that is modern privacy. Who's to blame?

Posted by: Bertil [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 22, 2007 06:41 AM

just a polite Scandinavian way of saying it: Privacy is long dead. get over it. In fact, sometimes I think extroversion is our last defence.

(see http://www.collisiondetection.net/mt/archives/2007/10/poptech_is_stre.html)

Posted by: yish [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 22, 2007 08:11 AM

@yish -- and sometimes I think we use "lack of privacy" as an excuse for narcissistic extroversion.

but that's just me (posting "anonymously") :)

Posted by: dubdub [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 22, 2007 11:40 AM

Whoever actually said it, it seems like an astute observation - see my BBC column for an extended take on the topic:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/6654337.stm

Posted by: Bill Thompson [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 22, 2007 01:21 PM

Maybe the lates community release does not differ do much from older ones.
See my small cartoon.

Bye,
Oliver

Posted by: Oliver Widder [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 22, 2007 05:33 PM

Its always funny when people talk about the lack of privacy online-like tracking the sites you ar viewing or queries made. What about the companies that peddle amplified public records? Doesn't it bother anyone, that foreign agents and terrorists can get detailed information about Americans-any American-from the comfort of their laptop?

I really didn't think it could be too bad. I checked anyway and was shocked. You can go to any of the people search engines and look up just about anyone with little of no trace back. Remember these sites are available world wide through the Internet or any US based front company. Here's what I found:

Condoleezza Rice(Secretary of State)- 4 records including home addresses in CA,VA, WA and DC. Also, listed are the names of 8 close relatives.
http://www.peoplefinders.com/summary.asp?fn=condoleezza&mn=&ln=+rice

Michael Chertoff(US Dept. of Homeland Security)- 4 records including home addresses in FL, NJ and VA and listing for 11 relatives
http://www.peoplefinders.com/summary.asp?ln=Chertoff+&fn=Michael

Michael V. Hayden(Head of US CIA)-1 record including homes in DC, VA, TX and VT and the names of 6 relatives.
http://www.peoplefinders.com/summary.asp?ln=hayden&fn=michael&mn=v&city=&state=DC

Note that the records for the relative are also available. These sites look like massive invasions of privacy and dangerous national defense security holes to me. But, the wonks in government must know about them, have evaluated them and decided that they are not a threat to us. Wait... weren't they the guys who missed the Saudi who wanted to learn to fly a plane but not land it .....? Humm....?

Posted by: Linuxguru1968 [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 22, 2007 09:38 PM

You might also find my post about the two different titles used for the same article interesting: And you wonder why people in America are afraid of the Internet.

Thanks for making the correction here as well. It's good to see both citizen bloggers and the news media making quick corrections when such errors occur... I was sure the NY Times wouldn't correct their version; happily they have.

Posted by: Chris Messina [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 29, 2007 03:59 PM

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