I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!
Privacy, Facebook, and Deja Vu
April 5, 2018
A few years ago, I called in to Michael Krasney's morning show when he was discussing privacy and Facebook. I suggested the idea that Facebook users should be given the option to "redeem" their marketing value by paying an annual fee to use the service in a more private fashion (no sharing).
If anyone knows how to search Mr Krasney's recordings, I'm sure you can find the segment, I want to say circa 2013.
While he thanked me for sharing my thought, he did not seem to understand the query, and neither did his panelists, so they quickly moved on. One person who heard the live broadcast, a very nice local rabbi in Berkeley by the name of Yehuda Ferris, did hear it and found my suggestion interesting enough to reach out to me to say so.
But that's all the traction it got.
Of course, the idea was not a fresh one - I had spoken about it for years within my circles before they went IPO, before they even became a dominant force in the world. It just seemed like an opportunity to share with Mr Krasney, whom I greatly admire and appreciate.
In my book published last year, I asked the very same question.
Here, let me quote myself from page 49 of "Why CISOs Fail":
"Why shouldn’t Facebook offer a paid privacy option?
After all, the value of the company is derived from the value of its network, which in turn is derived from the value of its consumer profiles and behaviors as it pertains to advertising and ancillary services. There is an actual dollar amount that Facebook assigns internally to its users, which also conveniently (at least if you read through the boring stuff and do some basic analysis) happens to be part of its financial disclosures as a public company.
So why not offer a privacy-conscious user the option to “redeem their value” for a year in return for a “Privacy Shield”? In this hypothetical scenario, Facebook will, say, suppress all tracking and advertising for that user for the period of subscription, in return for the subscription fee. In theory, this approach could gain in several ways.
First, consumers will be much better informed about how much value they are actually getting in “free” services. Second, those who are truly privacy conscious would have a way to remain within and still utilize the network. And third, consumer trust in Facebook would increase overall, because the company would appear to be so much more transparent."
(sidenote: go buy the book already, people!)
So why the deja vu?
Because I swear, a day does not go by now when someone doesn't publish some brilliant, provoking thought-piece on allowing users to pay for privacy on Facebook.
Which is great!
But I swear, it feels like the case of the recent, excellent CSO magazine article about virtual CISOs that completely failed to identify - and maybe interview? - the person who arguably actually came up with the concept in the first place almost two decades ago.
So here is my dream: maybe Mr Krasney will read this and get me on one of his panels to talk about all of this and where we go from here? now that would be awesome, yo.