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Tanya Jo Miller

Tanya Jo Miller

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Facebook or Google: Who's Your Data?

Posted: 05/13/11 01:16 PM ET

There's an ancient Chinese proverb that goes like this: "He who owns your data owns your soul." That's a rough translation, but you get the point.

The official data-grab begins -- who gets to own more of our souls, Google or Facebook?

Isn't it just a little ironic that Facebook hired a PR firm to get journalists to investigate claims of Google's " sweeping violations of user privacy"?

Really, Mark? Really? You're already in the Dickopedia, what more do you want? Still, the lack of self-awareness on Mark's part (I'll use the terms Facebook and Mark interchangeably here) is staggering.

Facebook already owns our firstborn child -- they have him taking his first step, slapping the dog, falling on his ass. So why begrudge Google's appetite for our souls?

In a meeting of journalists at the Facebook office in Palo Alto, someone in the audience asked, "But who owns the content we post on FB?" The official response was, "You do."

Of course you do! In the same way you own the pictures you post on Facebook. They're technically yours, but that doesn't stop FB from using them to sell your friends stuff.

But truthfully Google has so much dirt on us I fully expect them to take over the CIA soon.

And Google's appetite for your info is like a junk food addiction: the more it eats, the hungrier it gets. Like Google's release of its own operating system to run on the Chromebook. There's very little hard-drive space on the laptop because they want you to store your files on their clouds.

And if you store your files on their clouds then you have to seriously wonder who owns that data. And after that you have to seriously wonder who owns you since, these days, we are the sum of our data.

Who's your data now, be-atch?

And it's only getting worse. There are now sites like Voyurl where you get to gawk at people's browsing history with the tagline it's ok to look.

Let's just say I'd rather forget some places I've been on the web, and I certainly don't want others peeking.

And speaking of privacy: never steal a laptop from an 18-year-old tech-savvy entrepreneur.

Mark Bao got his computer stolen and used his "automatic online-backup service to access the hard drive while the thief was dancing."

The thief was doing some goofy wannabe gangster dance that Bao uploaded to YouTube, where it's gotten a million and a half hits. Bao tracked down the thief's email address to tell him of his newfound stardom. Not only did the thief turn in the computer to the cops with a mea culpa, he also begged Bao to "take down the video."

But the video's still up. The thief's not getting his soul back anytime soon.

At friggin' 18 Bao's already created and sold a start-up and been interviewed about it on Fox, where he tactfully declined to say how much he sold it for. (To be a true Silicon Valley entrepreneur, all he has left is to seriously tank a start-up.)

So this will be great for his career!

But as for the dancer... not so much. As one young vlogger said to the thief: "I don't know how you can recover from this, it's Youtube!"