I’m not your typical conspiracy theorist by any stretch of the imagination, but I ran across this video which really makes you think.
For those of you that blog, post photos on sites such as Flickr, or use social networking sites such as MySpace or Facebook; be careful, be very careful. Read the terms and conditions (aka contract) fine print, as you may be giving away your work (writing, photos, etc.) and it’s a given that you’re giving away your personal information. You can almost guarantee that this data will be used, at a minimum, to market products and services to you from the company that owns the service you’ve signed up for and, at worst, will be sold to third parties so they can market to you.
I’ve always struggled with this. On the one hand you want to use these services but on the other hand, you have no control of their terms and conditions. I can’t blame these guys for using the data, If it were my business, I’d use it! That said, I’ve made it a practice to ALWAYS provide the minimum amount of information when signing up for a service and to use dummy information where possible. I figure things like my birthdate and telephone number are my business and I’m not going to share it easily.
If you have the skills and wherewithal, consider hosting your blog and photo galleries yourself, this way you’re in control. If you’re like most people though, this isn’t an option so shop around and find a service provider that has terms and conditions you can live with.