You Signed Up for This – and Other Bullshit Reasoning

Whenever someone criticizes a company that they have investment in (time, energy, connections, etc.) for changing something, you hear one or often both of two things. 1) It’s free, quit yer bitching 2) This is what you signed up for.

In other words, you have no right to complain…

… what are you a customer or something?

While I have some small (minor, tiny, barely there, infinitesimal ) sympathy for the 1st point, the second is always bullshit. Let’s say it’s iTunes. You start with Version 1. You get through versions 1-5 and you even take the time to look at the User Agreements or at least read summary’s of what has changed. You can deal. Bu then there’s something that says (this didn’t happen but) they will be releasing all your music choices to a public information area (Ping) so people can find their friend’s music choices. But they offer an opt out where your name won’t be attached but your music list will be.  Or anything not bought in iTunes won’t be available for others to see. Whatever.

That’s painful but you like their adherence to privacy and keep going. Then, they say, GOOD NEWS, we’re going to make your user experience better. We are introducing 25 different filters for you to work with and you can opt-in privacy for each of them. If you do nothing, it’s all out there.

Fuck that. A lot of other people say fuck that and Apple retreats and says, well, OK, if you don’t do anything everything will be private. Good company, they got it.

Then three years later they casually make a mention – or more likely someone accidentally finds out – that a lot of that information IS out there. This forces Apple to say, yeah, sorry but we’re also going to be attaching your name back to all that data and well, sorr-y, we’re just a company.

Fuck that. But, you signed up for it and if you don’t like it you can go somewhere else. After all, it’s a free organization tool. Sure, except now it’s part of your life and really, no, there isn’t a great alternative.

Perhaps you’ve seen through the charade here but substitute Facebook for any mention of iTunes or Apple above and you come to Facebook’s announcement today that people can find you by name even if you don’t want them to and had previously deliberately stopped this ability.

Great. As you say i don’t have a right to be pissed as a customer? Because I am a Facebook customer who is tired of having to spend so much time just to protect privacy – something that shouldn’t have to be protected from the very company who should be helping me out on this front. Just read this section of that linked TechCrunch article:

To be fair, the “Who can look up your Timeline by name?” feature was likely misunderstood by lots of people. At first glance, you might assume it means that strangers can’t find your profile. But that’s incorrect. There have been lots of ways to navigate to your profile, like clicking your name on a photo you’re tagged in, finding your name in a friend’s friend list, or combing through Likes on a mutual friend’s News Feed post.

With the roll out of Graph Search, the avenues for sniffing out someone’s profile grew exponentially. Basically every piece of personal information (and soon the content you post about) could bring you up in a search.

Even in that short paragraph it shows you the level of effort needed to protect details. Or, more importantly, kids details. you thought you were safe, but then whiiiip, that carpet gets pulled out from underneath you. Should we asked to abandon this tool that has become part of our lives. And by many reports, even if we do , even if we deactivate our account, a large entirety of information stays up.

How does one truly opt-out once you’re in. People who have trusted get screwed. People who were never trusting, are OK, but who wants an Earth full of people who believe everything is untrustworthy? Trust no-one is a catchy phrase for the X-Files and generally a sentiment to be applauded. But how much of your live do you need to change every-time someone or some company shows a total lack of respect for you – yet you have, in some way, become dependent on them. I could call and e-mail and mail my far flung friends. But that isn’t shared conversation.