BREAKING: No one cares about privacy

Via Hacker News, we have this headline: “Facebook reveals friends list even when it’s set to private”. It’s yet another example of Facebook (et al) leaking information that results in something of a privacy breach.

Does anyone really care?

The answer is simple: no. No one cares.

The world is easily segmented into two groups:

  1. A very tiny group of people who value their privacy and do all sorts of weird things to protect it, like not using Facebook or G+ or whatever. They use some strange 3rd-party email Tor reflector thing, use OpenGPG to encrypt all their cat pictures, etc.
  2. Literally everyone else.

I don’t know of a single person who left Gmail (or switched their default search, etc) as a result of the whole NSA thing. I don’t know a single person who has ever said, “Facebook is a massive time-sink/drama magnet whose purpose is to enrich the bank accounts of those who own Facebook stock, so there’s no reason for me to be there”. I don’t know a single person who has ever said, “The default search experience on Duck Duck Go is good enough that I don’t need Google”. I don’t know a single person who has ever said, “I don’t mind ads for Google products and services on my default new tab page in Chrome”. I don’t know a single person who has ever said, “I gain massive benefit from social networking, so these sorts of privacy breaches are unfortunately part of reaping said benefit”.

In other words, no one cares. Privacy breaches don’t matter until it hurts you directly.

(Addendum: I have seen people on Twitter remark that they’re switching to DDG; however I’m a veteran of the first great Linux On The Desktop war, and for every person who cast Windows aside and boldly embraced the Penguin, approximately 100% were back on Windows as soon as the newest CoD game was out. So I don’t even believe those who boldly Twitter-protested their switch: odds are they got annoyed at DDG and quietly switched back to Google.)

It’s not that security researchers shouldn’t continue to look for them; it’s that the tech press act like they remotely matter one bit. They don’t. No one cares. File it away in the giant list of ways Facebook sucks ass, and watch Facebook’s stock price soar.

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