Privacy Settings or Setting Privacy?

Having forgotten to read the Privacy Statement and agreement for this here WordPress, there is nothing much for me to say about it. For Facebook, however, the privacy settings are pretty basic. Control who sees your profile and what they see in it. Control who gets your contact information. Control photo viewing, control search abilities, make a block list. What you can’t control is the people outside of Facebook who gets a little piece of all that. How so, you might ask. Its called a Cookie.

If you open your Internet Browser Preferences and choose an option that sounds something like “Never Accept Cookies from Anywhere” you won’t be able to even log in to Facebook. This is because without the ability to collect your data, i.e. track cookies on your computer, the big hungry marketing and advertising firms that help fund Facebook would have nothing to eat. Then, they would get grumpy. Then Facebook would go away. As a Facebook user you personally encourage the gluttonous Google monsters. The concept of personalizing your privacy settings comes with some implications of privatizing  your little Facebook universe. However, there’s nothing private going on.

Ever notice how the advertisements on the sides of your pages seem to fit your interests in their little blurbs? Yes, at one point you were asked whether your information could be used to direct such ads toward you but a majority of people probably paid that option no mind, just like I know nothing about my privacy settings here on WordPress. It seems we are often too busy to pay attention to privacy. We are used to things being snappy and coming as they are, what with texting and digital cameras and such. We are also used to things just being as they are. Oh, Google is just there. Adorno and Horkeimer adress this in some of their cultural theory as society’s tendency to agree to entertainment. I agree to privacy settings because I agree to the presence of this website, I agree to its new importance in my life and therefore, turning my culturally adapted blind eye, I agree to have Cookies rot in my hard drive, and my personal information entered in big fat Acxiom spread sheets.

Being required to write this blog really required of me to open up my eyes to the importance of privacy settings. Maybe we should all slow down and critically contemplate the conditions of our online lives. It isn’t quite like putting a tracking chip in your brain…but it might as well be.

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