Posts Tagged ‘online privacy’


Attention Facebook – I Demand My Privacy

   Posted by: Gary Wagnon    in Ninja Marketing

Over the last couple of days, my Facebook News Feed has been inundated with people posting the declaration that their content on Facebook is copyrighted and violating their privacy is punishable by law.  That ought to scare Facebook!

First of all, this is another self perpetuating post that blindly gets copied and pasted.  The truth is the law cited does not apply to content you post on a public site such as Facebook.  But more importantly, you cannot change an agreement after the fact.  Imagine sending a letter to your mortgage company saying you are giving them notice that you are changing the terms of your mortgage.  When you join Facebook, you agree to the terms and conditions, privacy policy and legal terms.  (Remember that little check box you had to mark when you signed up saying you read them all?)  Yep, you agreed to the it.

The real issue is the desire to protect our privacy online.  We share photos and videos, but then we don’t want people peeping into our virtual windows.  We post  on our Timeline a request asking people to change their setting so our comments and likes don’t appear.  HELLO!  If you don’t want your comments to show, DON”T COMMENT.  After all, Facebook is a SOCIAL network.

It would be interesting to know how many of the people sharing these posts play games on Facebook or use one of the hundreds of apps out there.  When you use these 3rd party apps, you are granting them permission to view all of your personal information and build a marketing profile targeted to you.

It would also be interesting to know how many have a Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail or AOL email account.  How many of them are surfing online using Google, Yahoo or Bing?  Have you tried posting an email in Gmail stating that your information is private?  Believe me, Google has a thorough knowledge of your surfing patterns and uses that to personalize your search results and the ads that correspond to that.

But let’s drop a little further down the rabbit hole.  Do you watch movies on Netflix?  How about buy books, movies or music from Amazon?  Don’t think for a minute that they are not building a profile on you.  True, they may say they don’t sell your information to others companies (neither does Facebook) but why would they even want to?  Amazon wants to keep you in the fold and does a good job of dripping on you regularly.

How about your smartphone?  Do you have any apps on there?  Do you “check in” at different locations?  Or search using your phone?  Could Siri be quietly taking notes in the background???  You think all that information that passes through your phone just vanishes into cyberspace?

Let’s go one step further.  If you haven’t already done so, go to , put in your name and see what comes up.  Chances are you’re going to be shocked.  Spokeo aggregates information from various sites around the web, including public records, and compiles a profile that includes your street (often times with a view of your neighborhood, if not your house), family members, where you have lived in the past and even a wealth rating and credit rating.  (Some of this information may require a paid membership fee to be visible.)  How’s that for privacy?

When you get to the bottom of today’s connected world, it’s scary to think how little privacy you really have.  So I really don’t care if Facebook has access to content I post publicly.  That is the least of my concerns.  If it really bothers you, there’s a simple answers – close your Facebook account.  But for complete (as complete as possible today) privacy, maybe you should consider a modified version of Abbie Hoffman’s hippie declaration, “Turn Off, Tune Out, Drop Out.”

Gary Wagnon is the owner of 800biz Ninja Marketing Strategies and the Ninja Marketing Dojo, a program designed to help businesses master all aspects of online marketing.  The goal of the Ninja Marketing Dojo is to improve search engine rankings, increase web site traffic and convert more browsers into buyers.


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Once again online privacy is in the news. On March 1, Google will be implementing their new unified privacy policy, which has sparked a firestorm of controversy. If you’re a Google user, you’ve seen multiple notices of the upcoming change to their privacy policy. But what does it really mean.

The essence of the new privacy policy is that Google will share one privacy policy across all its products. What has people in an up roar is the idea that what you search for can translate over to ads you may see in Gmail for example. Let’s say you watch a video in YouTube about widgets. You then go to Google to search for something totally unrelated, but there is an ad for Acme Widgets.

Despite the up roar, this is not new. Microsoft has the same unified privacy policy, which would include Hotmail, Bing and Internet Explorer. And Facebook’s privacy controversies have been well-documented.

While you have no choice but to either accept privacy policy or not use any Google product, there are some things you can do. By default, Google tracks your browsing history, apart from what you’re computer tracks. A check of my Google browsing history showed sites from as far back as 2007, which was probably about the time first I set up a Gmail account. (I have had three desktop computers over that period of time.)

You can opt out of browsing history in Google by going to and logging in with your Gmail address and password.  (If you have set up a Google account with a different e-mail such as an AOL account to login to YouTube for example, then you would login with that e-mail address and a Google password you created.) This will bring you to the history page where you can see everything you’ve searched for while logged in to a Google account. You can remove all or some of the searches selectively. You can also pause Web history by clicking the “Pause” button at the top. At any time you wish to resume tracking your history, just click the “Resume” button.

How to change your Google Search Browsing History

The bottom line is as long as you are choosing to use a free service such as Google or Facebook, you are subject to their terms and conditions (remember that little checkbox that said “I accept these terms”?).  And how is this different from watching your favorite show on television? The advertisers know that the viewing audience is a targeted fit for their product. (And who’s to say that technology is not already in place to monitor what we DVR or watch on-demand.)

So the privacy debate rushes on. Do we close our Facebook account, stop using Gmail or Yahoo or Hotmail so we can maintain our complete privacy? In today’s world, what really is happening is we are trading our privacy for connectivity.

What are your feelings about privacy versus connectivity?

Gary Wagnon is the owner of 800biz Ninja Marketing Strategies and the Ninja Marketing Dojo, a program designed to help businesses master all aspects of online marketing.  The goal of the Ninja Marketing Dojo is to improve search engine rankings, increase web site traffic and convert more browsers into buyers.


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