Rethinking Privacy

Hey, it’s nice when you agree with the Government’s interpretation of how the future is going to shake out. 

Donald Kerr is the USA’s Dept. of Intelligence Deputy Director and noted correctly:

Protecting anonymity isn’t a fight that can be won. Anyone that’s typed in their name on Google understands that. 
… Our job now is to engage in a productive debate, which focuses on privacy as a component of appropriate levels of security and public safety,”

Wait a minute….maybe the Government is just (finally) coming around to agreeing with me as I’ve been noting for about two years now that online privacy is an oxymoron.  Hey, here’s another online privacy is a mirage post!  

We don’t (actually, cannot) know where many of our pictures and data and writing and comments and email is stored, we don’t know who misquotes us, scrapes our content, has our credit card data and medical records, reads our email, or even know if we own what we write (many reviews sites will claim they own *your* reviews). 

It’s actually *not* as big a deal as one might think.  This is the brave new world of onliners and the benefits of the information explosion easily and dramatically trump the handful of privacy pitfalls.    If this were not the case we’d have seen a *lot* more trouble by now.

CNN Reports

Fred’s Facebook Ad test

Venture Capitalist Fred Wilson is always up to something interesting, and his current Facebook test is no exception to that rule.   He’s making a modest buy on a 1000 ads / $10 per day mostly just to see how the new Facebook targeting works for his Union Square Partners advertising.     

Unfortunately a VC firm is not likely to get much “business” from Facebook, so maybe I should fork over the pizza per day price for a test on something like motel bookings or air travel?

However I’m pretty confident the money would be wasted.  As I’ve suggested before Social Network advertising, targeted or not, is nothing like Google SERPS advertising and it’s become hard enough to leverage that to any advantage in the travel space.

Google to buy Sprint? Only if Sprint gets really “gets lucky”.

Rumors that Google might buy Sprint appear to be mostly just that – silly rumors to catch a headline.    Not so much that it would be a bad idea – for Sprint it would be the rescue they can only dream about as shifts in subscribers and the mobile landscape do not appear to favor Sprint right now.   As a Sprint customer with 4 phones on the plan you’d think I’d be rooting for them, but my misadventures with bad coverage here in Oregon and back east, the overhyped Treo 650, and a ringtone scam I had to *remind* them remove too often has basically soured this customer.    

If Google buys Sprint the Champagne should be popping – but probably not at Google though the economics of a deal like this are well beyond my expertise – probably anybody’s for that matter.

Google clearly wants to enter and effectively destabilize and reinvent the mobile market and they’ve already taken a major first step in the direction with the Mobile Handset Alliance.    Also true that Google can keep a secret as the recent Myspace “Open Social” partnership made very clear.    But I have a hunch they’ll do this more indirectly than managing their own mobile network.   Cleverly, Google is poising themselves to be the keeping of most mobile advertising which is where the “extra” cash is now laying on the table.    Open Handset Alliance phones will combine with mobile services and ads to bring a lot more advertising revenue into this market fairly fast, and Google is making sure a Google mobile OS, or something very compatible, is waiting there to scoop up the bucks.

Why buy the cow when you can get all that milk … for free?