Privacy on The Internet

Guarding Your Online Electronic Privacy

Internet Bits of PrivacyFor those of you that do not know me, one of the things that I value more than anything else is online privacy.

I have written many business articles about online E privacy issues and content provider concerns. I would be the first to say if a service is, or has a policy of sharing of information on the Internet with others.

Many E privacy policies are extremely vague and in fact should be labeled something else other than a privacy policy.

Good E Privacy Policy

There is one service that I have come to trust with my emails and information online. That service is the Google Gmail Service. One of the things that really has stood out from them is their down-to-earth privacy policy, written in an easy to understand style with very little of the legalize that only an attorney would understand.

When I first heard about the Google Gmail Service I was very impressed with their up-front statements of how this email service works. After hearing much of the criticism from the news media I took it upon myself to do some research online comparing the privacy policies of other large content providers that offer email and other types of services. What I found was quite shocking in the way of lack of privacy with other online service providers. Many of the documents that are written are designed in my estimation to be intentionally misleading and actually are a policy for sharing information as opposed to holding it confidential.

While these other services have been around for a longer period of time I find it fascinating that no one in the mainstream media seems to question these other online policies. Could it be that there is such a double standard that exists between various news organizations and web search companies that they would actually ignore certain web search service providers that intentionally allow information to be shared with others while at the same time trying to crucify a service that is up-front with the public? Are there other egregious factors at work here?

What Does The Future Hold

Why does this double standard exist? Do people just turn a blind eye to facts? Are we just a society of non-thinkers? I would hope that we are not, but the path seems to be set for the world to sit back and just be fed whatever they want to hear and never question anything.

First off, we all write with a certain degree of prejudice. The mainstream media has a responsibility to be as fair as possible with all stories written. If the story is not a commentary but a reporting of facts then it is the responsibility of the news organization to cover both sides and report fairly. We have seen problems in the lack of responsible television and newspaper media reporting in the political arena and in fact these stories have been exposed by Blogger journalists. Blogger journalists have broken stories that others in the mainstream press have ignored or have been grossly negligent in their reporting of the facts.

The future is changing quickly. The landscape for electronic news reporting is becoming increasing explosive as we become more virtual in our gathering of information and press reporting of news stories online.

People seem to feel threatened by the unknown. Maybe traditional news media organizations feel threatened by the new way of doing business. Broadband Internet continues to impact our lives in new and profound ways. Information sources are at our fingertips that we can quickly compare the stories from different perspectives. Traditional television and print media sees a shrinking customer base along with a decline in advertisers, because of the influx of the Internet. The media giants are becoming more concerned with the direction the World Wide Web is having on their OLD business plans. They seem to see it as a threat as opposed to an opportunity to establish a NEW type of relationship with an online readership.

Secret Mitigating Factors – Follow The Money

Here are a few thoughts and questions that come to mind that could certainly be mitigating factors.

Everything really is about money. What type of business relationships do some of the traditional media outlets have with other content providers? Is it in the interest of some content providers to share information with their business affiliates? Maybe that is exactly the business agreements that are in effect. Are owners and editors at top line newspapers and television networks in bed with some of the online content providers? If so, imagine how easy it would be to encourge an overeager news reporter to write stories that are not fully accurate. These same editors and owners could just as easily squelch truthful news reporting on other issues. How much money is given by some to support certain causes and seemingly altruistic associations that are related to the big news associations? How much does politics play into the mix? Where is the online ethics in business today? What other mitigating secrets are hidden?

Yes, these are but a few of the reasons for all the news reporting today. Though some of these may be business excuses, it does not make it right. It will be interesting to see what the future holds.

James A. Warholic – President, Professional Web Services, Inc.

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