This past Thursday I was invited onto CNBC’s Street Signs to discuss Google’s latest social networking moves and their potential impact on your online privacy. Erin Burnett – who I’ll readily admit is my favorite CNBC personality – hosted and the CEO of an online privacy company joined me on the segment.
We talked about Google’s Social initiatives, Social Search and Social Circle in particular. Obviously online privacy is an important topic, and is endlessly in the news, most recently due to the hack of Sony’s PlayStation Network and the furor over Apple’s “Locationgate,” but we’ve got to remember that nobody’s forcing users to sign up for services, agree to terms of service, and share their personal information online. Yes, it’s an increasingly online world we live in and companies should be held responsible if they knowingly mislead consumers into sharing information via dirty tactics like burying fine print deep on page 44 of a ToS document. But in this case Google isn’t requiring that anyone link their Flickr, Quora, or Twitter accounts to their Google account in order to utilize search – or any other – functionality.
Check out the segment and share your thoughts: Is Google, along with Facebook and most everyone else online, going too far when it comes to making your personal info private in the name of social networking? Or should users be responsible for knowing what they’re opting into before they click the “Sign Me Up!” button?