posted May 29, 2001

Scott McNealy and FUD on Privacy Privacy from Companies5/29/2001; 7:57:55 PM I'm not normally prone to paranoia, but I'm seriously beginning to wonder about people like Scott McNealy. Mr. McNealy wrote another essay on privacy in the Washington Post. The quote that most raises my ire is this:' I know medical records are a hot button for a lot of people, and I agree they need to be protected. But it would be a mistake to lose sight of the real benefits of sharing information about ourselves. One of the chief benefits, to use a more routine example, is personalized service. In exchange for a little information, you can get an online experience that's more in tune with your interests and needs. I have agreed to let my car company, for instance, track my every move through GPS satellites. Some people might consider that an invasion of privacy, but I find it comforting to know that, should my air bag deploy, they know where I am and can send help.'Seriously, who would consider that a violation of privacy? Nobody cares whether you choose to allow a company to have data. The issue is whether that data can be traded away to another company without asking Scott, or whether that data could be gathered without permission, not whether Scott should or should not share the information if he choses! As this point is central to his thesis, the whole rest of the editorial is pointless.This is the third or fourth person I've seen arguing this point, and I'm beginning to smell a rat. Is there some conspiracy of common cause afoot to spread this FUD about privacy? (Scott would in fact be a special case, 'cause he just has a point to prove about his earlier famous quote, "You have no privacy. Get over it.") Why would anyone think we want to totally abolish giving information to companies? Answers welcomed.


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