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With more and more people posting their every day (or indeed every minute) status and activities on FaceBook, Twitter and Google, it seems people don't care about their privacy anymore. Indeed, if you have read about the CNBC interview Google's CEO did on Dec 3, 2009; and the numerous comments attributed to Facebook's executives - or if you have read the CNET article from this past week, one would think privacy is a thing of the past.

Having grown up in a time when the Internet didn't exist and privacy meant a lot more, I didn't quite understand all this talk about privacy being dead. In this case, I am with Chris Matyszczyk. Read his article on CNET here...

When I first learnt about the concept of micro-blogging on Twitter and how it can help connect with people in your friend and family circles, it didn't sound too palatable to me that micro-blogs about my status and activity would be visible on the public time-line. So, when I did open an account to keep in touch with friends and family, I locked it down. And it works quite well for what I intend it to be... (my other account is where I post these blog updates and interesting news I find about Cloud, SOA and new technologies)

But despite a "private setting", I am still saving my information in someone's database (and since the service is free for me, my data is not quite mine...).

So, when I hear comments like the one Google's CEO made in his CNBC interview or the one he made in Abu Dhabi recently, it occurs to me that as a user of the services offered, what I have is not really privacy, but simply a false sense of security.


Wearing my professional and entrepreneurial hat for a minute however, the idea of less or no privacy is very appealing. Why? Well, because if indeed people don't care about what they do, when they do it... and they put all that information in my database, it is a wealth of data for analyzing user trends, tracking patterns and habits to help marketers tailor products and services just for you.

If we stay on this path, the Minority Report situation where intelligent signboards recognize Tom Cruise and use his name for offers (like beer) is not all that far away... indeed NEC has developed exactly that kind of system already. Add to that signboard, the data you save in Google, Bing, Yahoo and Facebook, and indeed, 2054 (the year the movie is set in), may not be all that far away...

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More Stories By Arun Rao

Arun Rao is a seasoned technology executive based in the SF Bay Area.