I have been bombarded with links and comments lately from people who are lamenting how Facebook or Google or Microsoft or whoever, is stealing their personal data and using it against them, or worse, selling it for a profit. I look at each and every one of them and ask them how exactly it is that these companies are stealing their data. Without exception, what these people describe to me is the process thru which they GAVE their personal information to these companies, especially Facebook and all of the companies that use their Open Graph technology. When I tell them that no one stole their data, but instead they gave it away in exchange for something that it turns out didn’t end up being worth it to them, they roll out a litany of denials and describe dubious tricks like “cookies” that are used to follow them around.
These conversations remind me of a statement by Dr. Robert Anthony: “When you blame others, you give up your power to change.” How can you blame others for your willingness to allow a company to have access to your personal data in exchange for letting you post a picture to your Facebook wall or vote in their online poll? This is a choice you get to make. If you don’t like the trade, pass on it. There is a Deny button right there next to the Allow button.
Man Up people. Accept the responsibility for putting all of your personal business out there online for others to mine for profit. It isn’t there fault that we can be sold so easily.