Is online privacy a property right?

Whenever I log into Facebook and share information with my FB posse, I usually wonder to myself, how much is Facebook making off of my information and insights?

Facebook, MySpace, etc., are all generating income derived from advertisements. Businesses buy ads based on the level of traffic coming to these sites and with over 500 million users that‘s a lot of traffic for Facebook.

Facebook is making money. They make money when I add friends because it means 410 possible sources of traffic. I get “friended” based partially on my profile. My thing is, why can’t I get a piece of that action? Where is my check? I don’t mind giving people access to my information, my content, my property if I can be compensated for it.

Unfortunately, this rational market approach is not even being considered by the privacy police. They would rather institute more privacy laws and regulations rather than recommending that Facebook pay us for appropriating our images and content. Let’s face it. If Americans were concerned about privacy, we wouldn’t be on the Internet much less use social media.

What we should do is implement a market-based mechanism that, through the power of price, would regulate the amount of our information allowed to be provided to third parties. If websites and credit card companies want the information, especially for the purposes of resale, they should buy it. If not, they should be legally liable for its use without permission.

A market based solution to privacy with the courts as arbiter should be explored before pursuing any additional regulations.

While Bobby Rush defends against computer fingerprinting, Color of Change no where to be found

Posted December 1st, 2010 in computer fingerprinting, Cyberspace, Internet, privacy and tagged , , , by Alton Drew

The Wall Street Journal today has an interesting article on computer fingerprinting, where a number of firms collect identifying information transmitted by your computer. These firms put the collected data into a database and sell this information to advertisers and other companies that wish to combat fraud.

The practice, according to the Journal, is legal. U.S. Representative Bobby Rush, Democrat of Illinois, introduced legislation this past summer that would allow consumers to opt out of this type of data gathering.

Personally, I don’t subscribe to the overly dramatic concerns of the privacy police. If you don’t want it out there then get offline, but I can admire representatives like Mr. Rush who can seek out a reasonable alternative that can keep consumers and business happy. He puts his money where his mouth is, unlike some of his critics such as Free Press and Color of Change.

I painstakingly visited the websites of these two slef-vaunted protectors of the little media man to see if they published any positions against the fingerprinting practice. Guess what. Not a bleep. A big no response from the very critics accusing Mr. Rush of not being able to provide leadership on broadband and Internet issues.

A lack of response from you guys is almost criminal. Somebody get the ink and give me your fingers Color of Change, starting with your left thumb.