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October 01, 2013



One huge area you seem to have overlooked is abuse. If everyone did what they were supposed to, maybe all of the positives you portray would make sense. But simply focusing on the NSA will show you that's not correct. Individuals working inside of the NSA have reviewed information about their ex-lovers. I wouldn't call it abuse, but clearly NSA couldn't even stop Edward Snowden from releasing TOP SECRET information to reporters.

The other issue is the appearance of privacy. Even if you don't expect privacy, you should expect it when these organizations imply it. For example, the NSA can get around the SSL certificates used in banking and other secure applications. I expect those transactions, at least, to be private and secure. If organizations simply go around it without telling me, that's wrong for everyone involved.

If someone is this comfortable with their privacy for the supposed pros, then they should try handing over their house keys to law enforcement or walk around the mall with their SSN & credit card numbers posted.


This is patently ridiculous. The arguments are fallacious and the justifications are inherently flawed ie why would you assume relinquishing privacy will indeed be used for non-malicious purposes?

If anyone is interested in a group that fundamentally cares about your privacy and rights online... see https://www.eff.org

So disappointing, Chuck.

Chuck Hollis

Hi Bob

I certainly didn't expect everyone to agree with me. And I am a big fan of all organizations (including EFF) who work to curb egregious abuses.

That being said, this was intended as more of a personal statement vs. a societal recommendation.

-- Chuck

Mike Spinney

Chuck, your thoughts are in line with what I've observed as the reason regulating digital "privacy" is inherently problematic.

You've articulated a personal comfort with engaging with the global digital community, understanding the trade-offs. But your personal view of privacy is unique, as is mine, and everyone else's.

Rather than attempting to force everyone to accept a narrow view of what privacy means and establishing boundaries within which companies must operate, the better approach is to require transparency on the part of public and private organizations so that individuals can make informed choices as to their level of engagement, and then provide the necessary tools to effect those choices.

Yes, it's a challenge requiring a great deal of nuance, but it's the approach that most closely mirrors the way people make those choices in real life. The choices you've described.


I, too, think it's inevitable that if you use the internet at all, your profile WILL be out there. I don't agree that my information will always be used for my benefit. I hope so. But I don't know that there's much I can do about it.

Definitely a thought provoking post, though. Thanks for getting me thinking! ~ Steve (EMCer)

Lessie Ashworth

I believe the loss of privacy is something that we pay for the use of the technology.

David Dietrich

This is an interesting perspective Chuck, and I agree that private information can be used for better, worse, and in gray areas. As a speaker said at the Data Science Summit said last year, “don’t worry about privacy, it’s gone”. I used to be less concerned about privacy, but now realize that it is a very nuanced topic, with many implications. In some contexts, knowing private information can provide unfair advantages in markets, not just in advertising and pricing promotions. If you are interested a few of my thoughts on these related topics, I have a few blog posts here https://infocus.emc.com/david_dietrich/big-data-vs-big-brother/ and here https://infocus.emc.com/david_dietrich/big-data-vs-big-dollars/ . To me, the core of the issue is figuring out how people can share data in reasonable ways (and agreeing on what is “reasonable” can be tricky). When we do this, it enables people to solve complex problems that depend on common pools of data.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Chuck Hollis

  • Chuck Hollis
    SVP, Oracle Converged Infrastructure Systems

    Chuck now works for Oracle, and is now deeply embroiled in IT infrastructure.

    Previously, he was with VMware for 2 years, and EMC for 18 years before that, most of them great.

    He enjoys speaking to customer and industry audiences about a variety of technology topics, and -- of course -- enjoys blogging.

    Chuck lives in Vero Beach, FL with his wife and four dogs when he's not traveling. In his spare time, Chuck is working on his second career as an aging rock musician.

    Warning: do not ever buy him a drink when there is a piano nearby.

    Note: these are my personal views, and aren't reviewed or approved by my employer.
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