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'Parks And Recreation,' Facebook and The New Privacy

Matt Weinberger | Jan. 29, 2015
Privacy now is all about control.

Creepiness is just a fact of life for people living the plugged-in lifestyle circa 2015. 

Which is where Parks And Recreation comes in. What people want, more than ever, isn't necessarily for Google to stop being creepy; people like personal data-mining services like Google Now, which can tell you when you have to leave the restaurant to catch a delayed flight without requiring your intervention at all. 

No, what people want instead now is visibility -- the insight to know what data, exactly,  is being scraped, and the option to opt out. The choice of what to make public and what to keep private is paramount. Call it the new privacy if you have to call it anything at all.

It's not about keeping things secret, because we know that Americans say they want privacy but act like they don't. It's about knowing what gets shared and to whom and  putting users in control.

We see it in the fight against online harassment, and in Facebook's own ongoing efforts to streamline its data sharing policies into something readable by a human. We see it in the perpetual skepticism around Uber and in the popularity of apps like Snapchat, even in the wake of hacking scandals.

It's not about the right to be offline, or the right not to be tracked, or the right to be forgotten. It's about the right to be online without being pushed into harm's way by forces beyond our control. It's about the right to opt out. 


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