We all use the web for entertainment -- and the most fundamental kind is being entertained by our friends and family members, laughing privately together as we share photos, stories, humor, and the serious bits of our lives. This type of entertainment has had costs we're increasingly uncomfortable with, the costs of oversharing, of being data-scraped, and of feeling privacy deprived.
The privacy revolution is gaining momentum, thanks to the continuous diet of privacy violations and intrusions we've been fed by Facebook, Google, and like company. In the next few weeks I'll write about the perfect storm that we are in the midst of yet don't see -- the rapid demise of Facebook. But this week, let's look at the surprising and continuing creepiness of a purported privacy protector, PATH.
So that's the gristle -- and there is more. Even after the FTC has levied their fines, PATH continues to intrude. Apple CEO Tim Cook has also stepped in to grill Dave Morin on what the heck is going on at PATH. It makes you wonder -- are the fines looked at as a cost of doing business? Where is the integrity in that? It used to be that running an ethical business meant at the very least, complying with existing laws and regulations. Apparently PATH is taking the position that their economic interests place them above the law. Here's the final rub -- PATH has some pretty credible investors, including Sir Richard Branson, whom I hold in high regard. I spoke to one of Sir Richard's friends recently, and he said to me that Branson has over 360 portfolio companies he has invested in, and is unlikely to have any idea of PATH's brush with the law, let alone their degraded moral compass.
The good news about PATH is that they, along with services like DuckDuckGo.com (a neat privacy-centric search engine), validate that the privacy revolution is gaining momentum, based on their uptake with consumers. But don't present yourself as privacy-centric when you are not. PATH, like its close kin, Facebook, pretends to offer privacy when in fact the essentials of privacy are sorely lacking. It is as though they purposefully intend to make us so cynical about the ability to be private that we just give up. Not going to happen!
The privacy revolution is real. True privacy is an inherent right of law-abiding citizens everywhere. Great companies with leaders who truly believe in the right to privacy will emerge (like Sgrouples.com). The EU has a truly entertaining phrase that is becoming a key focal point as a right of law-abiding human beings: "The right to be forgotten." PATH, please forget me! Thanks. :)
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