Google Offers To Pay People To Have Their Web Use Tracked Minutely | TechCrunch.
This is fascinating. I have been saying for a long time – mainly on Twitter, where no-one has picked it up – that it amazes me that neither Google nor Facebook nor another of the tracker/analytics brands has troubled to offer us an option in which we pay for the service with cash rather than the myriad secrets of our lives. This has always seemed to me so obvious, and I assume is not technically problematic: I pay $10/month and said service remembers absolutely nothing of what I am up to (well, nothing more than the law requires, which info is not reviewed or used and is then humanely destroyed at the earliest opportunity).
So: here is have Google working on the other end of the privacy equation – and offering financial incentives to people who may choose to offer up even more of their data (per impossibile, I hear you saying). I wonder whether this shift is going to prove a tipping point into a more rational, economic view of privacy and consumers and service provision.
What do others think?
Image via Wikipedia
Austrian Law Student Faces Down Facebook – NYTimes.com.
There are so many issues raised at the interface of Europe, the United States, the Facebook IPO, privacy in general, the future of the internet, the cloud, the internet of things . . . goodness, on and on it goes; the complex and fast-evolving nerve-system of 21st century knowledge engines as they interconnect people and institutions and ideas and the rest of the personal and social order. It’s not easy to speak about any without speaking of all. Perhaps we should invent the hyperlink so we can do both.
But as this story shows, some facts are plain. Europe’s forward position on privacy is leading the global policy discussion willy-nilly – that is, the lack of an integrated global conversation that can shape policy has left the field open to the most conservative major player, which happens to be based in Brussels. At the same time, as the story demonstrates, Facebook’s decision to plonk down its European HQ in Ireland (I assume for tax reasons) leaves the Irish Data Protection office with something close to veto power. The Austrian law student, whom Facebook’s European policy head is quoted as saying very nice things about, is pressing his case and reckons that even the Irish response is far from adequate.
Lessons? Well, we sure need a more adequate global discussion. We need privacy issues to be viewed by the major corporate players as keys to profitably business models and not as a nuisance. We need the idea that they seem to assume – that mi casa es su casa; once we hand over the data it’s theirs for ever – to be replaced with a far more (cliche alert) granular approach. It’s coming, but much too slowly. And I still don’t understand (help me please, Facebook and Google) why we don’t have a fee-for-service alternative in which no data gets kept or tracked at all. Since (per the Facebook filing) each user is worth remarkably little in in dollar terms, this would seem a no- brainer.
Meanwhile we note that Facebook now enables us to see all the data they have on us (in Europe they are required to put it on a hard disk in the mail), which is something.
And an Austrian law student is using Facebook’s Irish corporate registration to leverage the conversation. But hey, century 21 is all about asymmetry, no?