Sunday, March 25, 2012

So You Wanna be on Facebook?

I must admit that I’m not on Facebook. I don’t have time for any additional routine maintenance chores, and I’ve heard that Facebook is a real time-sucker. So I let it be.

Then someone told me that FB is a nest of spyware and privacy-invasion, and that confirmed my decision to stay out of it.

A writer at the German site Junge Freiheit contributes the following piece about the insidious allure of Facebook in his country. Many thanks to JLH for the translation:

They Only Want the Best for Us

by Dieter Stein

Do you have a profile on Facebook? No? Don’t worry, you are by no means in a minority in Germany and you are saving a lot of time. Over twenty million Germans have joined this “social network” and keep up contact there with “friends,” or their virtual equivalent. Facebook is a toy intended to motivate the user to voluntarily reveal as much as possible about him/herself.

It is seductive on trips to post photos on Facebook and wait to see which “friends” press the “I-like-it” button or comment on the picture. The incautious person has turned on the automatic locater, so a profile of movements is added. Younger students especially are tempted by a certain group dynamic to enter increasingly absurd things on Facebook: party pictures, information about the current partner, and more.

Insidious Process of Identity Exposure

What are the consequences? Employers automatically research Google and Facebook to see what information the applicant has left there. This could lead to the applicant’s disqualification, because confidentiality and a serious impression are decisive.

The danger is that minors often ease into a gradual process of revealing their identities, and a jumbled mass of information is produced which later may be difficult to correct. It is doubtful whether Facebook allows an untraceable erasure of data.

Why do Facebook and Google even collect all of that data about us that the security services can only dream of having? They make impossible sums of money from it: Facebook made over two billion dollars and Google over thirty-eight billion through advertisement. And counting.

A Totalitarian System Comes on Little Cat Feet

In the future, facial recognition is expected, for quicker location of chance acquaintances. That could revolutionize even more the Facebook police search that is already being done. Nobody knows if someday his Facebook files will be laid in front of him to confront him with a misstep. Carelessness led to the fall of Schleswig-Holstein CDU politician, von Boetticher, who had met a sixteen-year-old lover on Facebook.

Unnoticed and on little cat feet, a totalitarian system is coming to enfold us. It blandishes us with services. entertainment, social contacts — and even leads us to believe in security. Will we escape it? I myself have a Facebook page with 1,400 “friends” to solicit for the work of Junge Freiheit — an interesting medium of contact. Shall I erase my profile? Write me:


Will Doohan said...

I've often had the thought that this was/is the main purpose of the internet, to get people to reveal personal things about themselves. The FBI under Hoover use to use 'dirt' that they dug up on people to blackmail them. Now 'they' have figured out a way to put a confessional booth in everyone's house and have them voluntarily reveal everything about themselves, including their sexual preferences. Did you ever wondered why Al Gore and other politicians were always talking about how important it was to get everyone online?

{And yeah, I know this sounds like a paranoid conspiracy theory, but how many people do you know that DON'T have a computer and go online?)

Dymphna said...

Ah, Mr. Doohan--

Your concerns about the internet don't make you a paranoid. A REAL paranoid is easily idenitified: they have a theory about money, a foundational certainty about Jewish perfidy, and they can't shut up or change the conversation.

You ain't no paranoid, just someone who's noticed the increasingly intrusive central govternment's size and number of laws. Not to mention our ever more arcane tax code. It's so byzantine now that everyone is in violation of one or another of those sub-clauses...

There is a lot of justified concern about the way the Muslim Brotherhood is using lawfare in this country to gain a chokehold on our First Amendment rights.

What we also ought to be concerned about is "taxfare" - e.g., the Clintons' IRS investigations of its crtics. Many conservative groups spent a lot of money defending themselves against spurious audits.

Now Obama has started in on the Tea Party groups. Look for that to ratchet up if he wins re-election.

Sol Ta Triane said...

Common sense, it's not parnoid. We are probably being mass profiled, and not just by business.

It seems the youth up to about age fifty, now enjoy the kind of titillation such as that received by the exposing of personal specifics. Which makes the collection process easy, aye?

Major player Google has long been, unconscionably, helping China to monitor it's people through the internet. More interestingly, considering Google's support of China's deadly, people-vanishing kind of communism, why would this be condoned by the US government when it is clearly unacceptable?

Simple. Letting Google help totalitarians makes it look normal, so it can be used on us, too. And it highly unlikely that something of this sort isn't being used in the USA and EU.

I don't see anybody working on this problem, either.

If you say it's not possible, that the government wouldn't do that, then think about the IRS attacking the Tea Party.

Robert Pinkerton said...

A further datum of evidence that I am a mossback/shellback? I was raised to believe that self-advertising is beneath the dignity of a gentleman. Is facebook anything other than a forum for self-advertisement?

Dymphna said...

@Sol/ Me, too - except for that dry&sly "youth to about the age of 50".

Are you saying it takes ppl that long to grow up? You'd be in good company with Diana West:

The Death of the Grown-Up

Excellent book. Warning for oldsters: the Baron's farsightedness has reached such awful proportions that he couldn't read it.

I found it doable, though. Just a bit small. Her publishers should have considered the demographic who'd be purchasing this.

@ Mr. Pinkerton, who asks:

"Is facebook anything other than a forum for self-advertisement?"

Here's my take on 'social' media:

For college grads of a certain age Facebook allows you to keep up with the friends who scattered to the four winds upon graduation. They're fortunate: I don't know where most of mine are. Born too early.

It's also fun for wide-spread families. Posting pictures to Facebook allows your kith & kin to see you cavorting at the Grand Canyon, or whatever.

For the less discerning, who post amazingly private information in their most degrading potty-moputh style, I'm afraid it's going to bite them in the gluteus maximus one day...

...there was a rush to take down the Facebook page of that young fellow who was shot in Florida. The image shown far and wide (taken a few years ago) is just before his testosterone kicked in. By the time he was killed, he had an ugly nic, tattoos galore, and a mouthful of gold teeth - a mouth he used to say ugly things, unfortunately.

Meanwhile, our GoV Face Book (Facebook?) page was put up by someone on another continent. According to them, it just sends out our RSS feed. We haven't seen it so I don't know what it looks like.

I can't imagine what kinds of 'cued' adverts appear on the sidebar.

Twitter is useful. I can put up short things about stuff we won't be blogging. And I get to see what others find important. Every time I get on (not often) I notice the leading stories. I also notice we're not usually following any of them here in the Gates ghetto. Ah, well, we never did live in the fast lane.

I do miss Andrew Breitbart's messages, though. Esp. when he re-published the hate notices...he had a grand sense of the absurd.

Sometimes if we get a notice that someone questionable is following us, I'll block it. But that's random. Mostly I don't pay attention.