Quarter Life Crisis

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Privacy

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We all know that as far as the digital world is concerned privacy is a thing of the past. Very few people will managed to keep their data private enough that none of it makes it outside their own control. Companies like Google will make sure to track your internet usage in detail, companies like Apple will equip you with software that occasionally calls home – all presumably for your own good – and if that doesn’t do the job, it seems likely that any other companies or government institutions you have to deal with will lose or leak some data about you sooner or later.

Of course the software companies do the best to cover their butts and I am sure that Google do somewhere have privacy information that informs you about what they are doing and that likewise Apple’s licenses tell you that tools like dashboardadvisoryd will call home every now and again or that their browser and Mail application’s RSS features are by default subscribed to some Apple feeds you are not interested in.

But – as usual – if everybody gets things a bit wrong, Microsoft are there to do even worse. They seem to be quite reliable at filling that role. Perhaps you could be forgiven for thinking that double clicking a simple media file in Windows would just play it back. But that’d be a silly thing to think. The first time you do so you have to look at this:

Windows Media Player 10 Privacy Options window

It’s hard to say what is wrong about this because it’s wrong in so many ways. Starting from the phony Microsoft is commited to protecting your privacy. blurb, going on the dialogue’s bad layout, all the way to the fact that for most of those options it is completely unclear how they would be related to ‘privacy’ and why you’d need to set them to play back a locally stored media file. Of course their whole system is probably so fucked up by now that there is no way to fix this. But scrapping all those ‘settings’ and replacing them by two buttons labelled I want shiny bells and whistles and don’t give a damn about my privacy and I am paranoid, don’t send any information out and play that damn file might be a good first step.

February 3, 2008, 16:20

Tagged as software.

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