Lot of posts/opinions about "Privacy and how to protected it" came live with the FTC privacy initiatives, here's my two cents on this subject.

Privacy is something really important in today's society, right? If not, why every web site has a privacy statement? In fact, privacy is a big and complex subject but in short is the right to control the information about yourself. Now, with social networks, location services and supporting it all, the Internet, all kind of concerns are raised in favor of "protecting your privacy".

I can think in two major reasons one could argue in favor of privacy protection. First, security. Nobody wants all money vanished because you bought a book online and someone stole your credentials and credit card information. The second, you have something to hide, or keep to yourself for many reasons, and it's your right to choose what information to disclose.

In favor of security there's the big brother initiative, and I can recall is security analysts saying that Facebook, Twitter and such are gold mines for bad people. I do not need to list all things made in the name of "security" a card commonly used by governments. The common advise is we should avoid getting exposed, telling the world where we are and what we're doing. Should we do that or should law enforcement and security get better and faster? This kind of advise sounds like, "don't go out at night because is dangerous". Definitely more dangerous in São Paulo than San Francisco, why? As I wrote above, privacy is the right of disclose my information as I feel suitable, if I choose to say where I'm having dinner this is the same as saying "Please rob me now"? Is there a connection between my last tweet and the fact that my front desk let a stranger go into my apartment without my approval? Social Engineering is way older than Facebook. IMHO the ones that are responsable to enforce security are still doing it wrong. Still, this is a tough subject and deserves all discussion that it could get. Nevertheless, protecting privacy by giving up on it sounds like a big contradiction.

About the second reason to keep your privacy, privacy (as stuff I don't want others to know about it). This is fine, you have the right to keep your personal life information to yourself (as long don't go against the law), and I think nobody will argue about that. But, if you have a bank account and try to get credit you gonna be amazed how much information they have about you. In fact, information that you never chose give the bank to begin with. How come? Knowing that you go to bed naked every night is a privacy issue, but all your financial life is "not private" to banks (even if you don't have an account with them). Sharing more fundamental information is already legal. If banks don't share this kind of information you probably have to get papers and more papers and all kind of hassle to ask for credit. Banks made your life "easier" sharing this information, government is happy because can tell if you're doing your taxes properly or not. So it seems that full control of your privacy is not compatible with our current society standards, to function in it, we have to hand out part of it.

The new buzz is around if websites have the right of giving information about yourself to advertisers and partners. This sounds odd to me, why I wouldn't let google give my search terms to advertisers so I can have more meaningful links to click? Banners will come anyway, right? And if I don't like the ads can I just change the search engine. TV is giving me ads that I don't want for years and unwanted mail (paper ones) arrive in my mailbox every day. I'm not sure why, if I have to see ads, I don't want them to be more meaningful.

This two cents is just to remind me (and hopefully you) that's not a case of new laws, the end of the privacy as we know, helping scammers using Facebook/Twitter or similar. Is just the arguments are too weak for privacy "protection" and the old problems with security still exists. Facebook/Twitter don't put my life in jeopardy but having my tax information selled in Santa Ifigênia for less than U$15, will.