Yahoo is the latest to show us there’s no place to hide

No where to hide

Is there nowhere left to hide, even for the rich?

Andorra announced that they’ll begin phasing in taxes to comply with European regulators looking to prevent tax cheats from hiding their money in this tiny mountain-locked country in the Pyrenees between France and Spain. Secrecy is a common reason to open bank accounts in places like Andorra, San Marino, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

No more. All of these countries are facing pressure and have agreed to begin sharing information about bank accounts and money movements.

Gone, it seems are the days of privacy alongside privilege, victim of the digital revolution that allows far greater transparency. It’s a good thing for us common people, no?

Yahoo reads your email

But it isn’t just the rich that are losing their hiding places. Yahoo just changed their email platform to one that reads your emails and can target offers and help reduce spam. They put it this way:

When you upgrade, you will be accepting our Communications Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. This includes the acceptance of automated content scanning and analyzing of your communications content.

Yahoo isn’t any worse than the Facebook or Google, where most people appreciate the ‘free’ services without considering that free comes at some price. Google’s attempt to mollify their users looks like this:

If you’ve recently received a lot of messages about photography or cameras, a deal from a local camera store might be interesting . . . Ad targeting in Gmail is fully automated, and no humans read your email or Google Account information in order to show you advertisements or related information.

Is it comforting that no human reads my emails and does that make it OK? I’m not sure.

A transparent life

There are two ways to look at this, depending on my trust of ‘the system’ be it government or corporations. I can live a life that’s transparent, knowing that nearly everything leaves a digital footprint. Except that for those who have things to hide and are compelled to continue what they do, this isn’t a very good option.

The other way of seeing this is a loss of personal privacy that could make us all afraid to speak up or be different from the crowd. History would be very different if lives were transparent throughout history. Imagine Galileo sharing his ‘heresy’ on Facebook in those times.

“We are not center of Universe | #GetOverYourself” would have been a damning tweet.

Be ready to pay

Taking your privacy back likely means paying for things that you could easily get for free. It also likely means giving up social channels where most of the public is found, sharing like crazy.

If privacy means cost and relative isolation…who amongst us wants that?

ShhhEDITOR’S NOTE: Wouldn’t you know, transparency discomfort creates an anti-transparency market. Paladin Deception Services — for a mere USD $54/month, they’ll pose as a friend or employer, intercept your calls or emails, and lie to your wife.

From their website:

Paladin Deception Services is here to assist you in obtaining the fictitious reference, the little white lie, or the alibi that you need. Our agency can provide you with either male or female testimonials​ over the phone in the local area code that you require.  We’re confidential, professional, innovative, and affordable.  Most importantly, we keep it legal.  Get the verification that you need!


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Categories: Privacy

Author:Chris Taylor

Reimagining the way work is done through big data, analytics, and event processing. There's no end to what we can change and improve. I wear myself out...

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2 Comments on “Yahoo is the latest to show us there’s no place to hide”

  1. Max
    June 2, 2013 at 4:41 pm #

    Maybe it marks the beginning of multiple personal identities …

  2. June 2, 2013 at 4:45 pm #

    Indeed. That would be one solution, albeit extra work.

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