Be Careful What You Click For
0 comment Thursday, May 22, 2014 |
When a new drug comes out on the market, I like to wait a while, watch for any side effects, see if it works. I'm cautious that way. My mom never took hormone-replacement therapy and hardly a day goes by that she doesn't remind me of her medico-prudence.
For me, it's especially wait-and-see with all of this social networking stuff. Hells-bells. Six years ago, "social networking" wasn't even in the dictionary. If it was, I never heard of it and that's saying something.

Now, many people I know have been on Facebook for years. And most of them are rational. But Facebook . . . for me? Meh. I just got the techno-courage last week and already I'm having clicker's remorse.
Today, though, I'm feeling vindicated, victoriously "told-you-so."
Because Google has come out with this new thing called "Buzz." And even though I, your intrepid trend-setter, did not brazenly jump on the bandwagon, Buzz is nonetheless all the buzz.
It's Google's answer to things like Twitter and Twinkle, neither of which I am on.
No doubt, you savvy tech-dwellers already knew Buzz was on the scene, but this sort of scene I'm always the last to attend. And now I can proclaim my hesitation is grounded in good reason.
So come. Groove with me now and get a load of what's happening at Google's Buzz.
In a nutshell, if you sign up for Google Buzz, any and all of your frequently emailed gmail addressees will become public . . . to anyone you follow, or who follows you, on Buzz.
Oh, and do you email with the bloggers in your google reader? Shazam! Those emails are out there as well.
Here's a nice extra: post to Buzz from your iphone and all of your "followers" will instantly know your precise physical location.
Here's a clip from "Business Insider":
When you first go into Google Buzz, it automatically sets you up with followers and people to follow. A Google spokesperson tells us these people are chosen based on whom the users emails and chats with most using Gmail. That's fine. The problem is that -- by default -- the people you follow and the people that follow you are made public to anyone who looks at your profile. In other words, before you change any settings in Google Buzz, someone could go into your profile and see the people you email and chat with most. A Google spokesperson asked us to phrase this claim differently. Like this: "In other words, after you create your profile in Buzz, if you don't edit any of the default settings, someone could visit your profile and see the people you email and chat with most (provided you didn't edit this list during profile creation)." (Freaking out already? Here's how to IMMEDIATELY make these list private and then edit them >) When you first post to Google Buzz, there is a dialogue box that reads "Before participating in Buzz, you need a public profile with your name and photo." It also says -- albeit in tiny gray letters against a white background, "Your profile includes your name, photo, people you follow, and people who follow you." But it does not say that these publicly viewable follower lists are made up of people you most frequently email and chat with. Even if it did say that, we doubt most users bother to read the text in the dialogue box before clicking "save profile and continue."Good God almighty! So I've got to qualify for NASA in order to fix this "following" problem? No thanks. I never liked the idea of someone following me around anyway.
Imagine you're a psychiatrist (or worse, the psychiatrist's patient). You frequently email your patients via gmail. Oops. Now everyone you "follow" or who "follows you" sees your patients' email addresses in your google directory.
"So whose this Bob Bongdong on his email list?" your wife's friend will remark to her friend, the same friend who happens to teach Bob's 4th grade kid. "Maybe he's bipolar," they'll wonder together.
Use Google as a lawyer and frequently email clients via gmail? Voila. Now the world, which is anyone who can see your Google profile, knows X's email address and can quickly figure out whether X is a client of yours. Think the Grievance Committee's only question will be how stupid you were?
The possibilities for abuse are endless, exponentially endless.
"But wait, Lawyer Mom," I can hear the technocrats clamoring.
"Only certain hapless persons in your gmail email list need be involuntarily exposed to the world. All you have to do is change the cosine in the Google equation and replace pi with 3.12 in the fifth tab of the drop-down menu called "advanced operations." Then just create an automated filter. So easy a caveman could do it."
"Umm, great," I'd say, and, oh . . . what's the expression kids use nowadays? "Back at you!"
Because old fogies like me, we've just figured out how to turn on our blackberries.

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