Just when Facebook thought it might get the public pressure off its back… Pirates (and, for once, serving The Man) are beginning to harvest the information that people carelessly/ignorantly/unknowingly provide to the Internet’s “public”. This should be a noticeable change to the issues that general/casual/new Facebook users should be concerned with. Users need to change their mentality on what they do not want their clients, coworkers, bosses or family to see. Now, there is public evidence that demonstrates we need to be concerned with how our information can be harvested; reconfiguring/merged/etc into a bigger database; and finally how that “product” can be shared to any individual, organization or business.
Sure, the business world has wanted this for years. Oftentimes, Facebook would step aside and promote defaults that would feed advertising interests. Businesses could only pressure more. Now, Facebook has no control if they continue to offer defaults/settings that encourage the loss of people’s assumed “privacy” — the pirates will pillage your profile, and then they will work together with The Man to make a big profit selling whatever specs they can about you. This all makes for a great Orwellian account of dehumanization.
Such procedures have been around for years. (Remember our initial concerns over cookies left behind in your browser cache?) Based on much of what I am picking up in my Technology Ethics course at the moment (and thanks in most part to our textbook by Herman Tavani), there is little effort (at the governmental level, especially) to govern what our privacy entails. The continuing ethical problem in computing will remain: Is there a strong enough standard for how software/web engineers protect user privacy? And will that be enough to stop the underground from harvesting?