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Information, Technology, and Innovation: Resources for Growth in a Connected World by John M. Jordan

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CHAPTER 31

Identity and Privacy

As people's identities migrate into the ether of digital representation, all manner of questions emerge: Rights, responsibilities, and risks all can be thought of in significantly different terms than they were 20 years ago.

With the launch of Google Plus in 2011, it's an opportune time to think about digital privacy, insofar as Google is explicitly targeting widespread user dissatisfaction with Facebook's treatment of their personal information. The tagging feature, for example, that was used to build a massive (hundreds of millions of users) facial recognition database has important privacy implications. In standard Facebook fashion, it's turned on by default, and opting out once may not guarantee that a user is excluded from the next wave of changes. If a government did that, controversy would likely be intense, but in Facebook's case, people seem to be resigned to the behavior.

According to a 2010 poll of customer satisfaction developed at the University of Michigan, Facebook scored in the bottom 5% of providers—in the range of cable operators, airlines, and the Internal Revenue Service. Even as Facebook is rumored to be holding off user-base announcements for 100-million intervals since a billion is in range, users are defecting. While the service is said to be closing in on 750 million users globally, reports of 1% of that population in the United States and Canada defecting in one month were not confirmed by the company, but neither were ...

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