Often you read news articles or get into discussions about privacy and data protection issues. In those situations friends, journalists and others talking about it make it sound like every user of Facebook, Google Latitude, Twitter or other services is a hypocrite if he's asking for privacy and data protection. News articles ask if social media services where everyone does a digital data striptease are the end of any privacy and thus all the demonstrations and discussions about it are futile.
It's not about if the data is collected. It's about when is the data collected and who has access to it. You should…
…have all rights on your pictures and messages hosted on services like Facebook and Twitter. To modify, share and delete them at your will. And nothing more than your will.
…be able to decide which information to share with whom and whom not.
…you got a Twitter account with your tweets visible to everyone, your direct tweets to your girlfriend are just your business and not of any government to analyze and store for at least six months just in case you're a terrorist.
…all your friends can see your drunk pictures on Facebook, your new boss or any journalist shouldn't be able to access them.
…you have a positioning service telling publicly where you are, you can turn it off before going to the urologist.
The question is not about the existence of personal data on the net, it's about who is in control of it.
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