Anonymity doesn’t work so how can we have privacy?

Secret is the hot new app in the Valley. People read it for the gossip, and people post gossip there because they post anonymously. Last week people were even chatting on Twitter about the amazing gossip on Secret!

Sam Altman of Y Combinator wrote this in a post about Secret:

Anonymity breeds meanness–the Internet […]

Has the NSA pushed people to finally do something about their privacy concerns?

Annotations A – B – SF billboard C – D – TIME’s Top 50 Websites E – USV investment F – Visual Refresh G – Google privacy policy change H – Washington Post profile I – Surveillance revelations



The chart above shows that query volume on privacy friendly search […]

The end of privacy by obscurity

A penny dropped for me when I read Facebook’s graph search and the end of privacy by obscurity on GigaOM recently. Regular readers will know that I’m of the opinion that we have more to gain than to lose by sharing our information, and that I hope that people with privacy concerns will slowly get […]

Ad-blocking by ISPs

I’m just back from an extended Xmas break and have been enjoying getting back into the news flow and thinking about markets and opportunities. The juiciest titbit this morning is undoubtedly the news that upstart French ISP Free is now shipping ad-blocking software and hardware to its customers with defaults set so all ads […]

Musings on the tension between trust and anonymity

Google just changed the Google Play store so that reviewers’ Google+ name and profile picture are visible, with no option for anonymity, writes Techcrunch.

I think this is a good move because identity engenders trust and the lack of trust on the web relative to offline is one of the things that holds […]

Measuring ad effectiveness by linking to offline sales

On Friday I wrote about how privacy advocates will welcome Facebook’s release of their Shared Activity plugin which makes it easier for users to control how their actions on Facebook-connected third party site show up in their Facebook feed. Today’s news points in the other direction. This morning I read of Facebook’s project with […]

Facebook makes privacy controls much simpler

Last night Facebook launched their Shared Activity plugin makes it much easier to control which of your activities on Facebook-connected third party sites show up in your Facebook feed. It’s a one click process that runs on the third party site so you don’t have to go back to Facebook at all. Venturebeat has […]

Exposing the misunderstanding behind the belief that social media makes us less social

Regular readers will know I’m a big believer in the power of social media as a force for good in our society. Now that everyone can publish their opinion and no-one can control the media integrity is becoming more and more important for brands and individuals, and I think that’s great.

There are many […]

Google’s recent troubles give an insight into how much and why privacy matters

Danny Sulliivan put up a good post yesterday: On Google & Being “Evil”. His main point was that Google is now a very big company and that inevitably means they will make mistakes, including ones which impact their users’ privacy, but they are not any more evil (or good) than any other large company. […]

Facebook privacy questions should be judged by consumers not politicians

As you may well have seen there is quite a furore at the moment about Facebook’s new privacy settings – see the articles today in the NYT, FT and GigaOM, and it does seem to me like Facebook could be doing a better job here, at least by making privacy settings simpler and communicating […]