Feb 162010

By now (especially if you have a GMail account) you have already heard of Google Buzz.  As a minor aside if you wish to turn off buzz in your GMail scroll down to the bottom when logged into GMail and there is a link to turn off Buzz.  Needless to say there have been some privacy concerns with Google Buzz.  I’m not surprised.  At the same time Google Buzz came out, there was an update for Google Maps on my phone which included a layer for viewing Google Buzz.  Each buzz was geolocated.  Many buzzes also had addresses with them.

I’m all for Google making Buzz more private, but you have to have some responsibility for maintaining privacy if you wish it.  Intentionally broadcasting your location (especially with an address) gives you no right to complain about privacy.  It’s like those idiots who put up photos of themselves engaging in underage drinking, using drugs, etc. on to Myspace or Facebook, and then complain when there are consequences such as losing their jobs.  Here’s an idea.  Don’t post photos of yourself doing questionable things for public consumption.  This reminds me of a Monty Python sketch, “How Not To Be Seen”:

Notice what happens to the first two people.  All of their work at not being seen was for naught since they chose to stand up and make themselves visible.  The third guy realized that if you want not be seen, you don’t let yourself be seen.

It’s the same with privacy.  Privacy advocates will correctly point out that everyone should have privacy available to them.  They will use examples such as taking a dump which everyone does, but does not want to be visible to the outside world.  However, this leaves out something, namely that if you decided to take a dump in the middle of Times Square you have no right to complain about not having privacy (as well as no right to complain about not getting arrested).  Privacy with social networking sites operates on similar principles.

  2 Responses to “Buzzing Around With Google”

  1. I’m curious if you believe that free speech can exist in an environment where one can be fired for whatever is “seen” anywhere.

    To clue you in, the answer is no.

    • Free speech only guarantees freedom from government interference. It doesn’t provide protection from being fired from your employer (unless your employer is the government).

      Free speech has nothing to do with anything I said in this post.

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