My advice to Facebook: Ask permission, dammit

Facebook got into this mess because it used our information without asking nicely. Time for this social network to learn some manners.

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Your medical information is private -- but not to your doctor. You may have birthmarks or tattoos that only a select few people know about -- unless you're a stripper. Your yearly income is no secret to your boss or Uncle Sam, but it's unlikely your coworkers or neighbors know how much you make. All of that information is public to some and private to everyone else.

That is precisely how Facebook started out. You got to choose who saw your stuff. But it's become increasingly harder to limit your exposure as Facebook makes more and more "private" things public. That's why I (and others) have called it a "bait and switch."

That's a problem, but it can be fixed. And the fix starts when Zuckerberg et al stop assuming that just because people post something to their Facebook profiles means they're OK with sharing it with the world.

So anyone who says you've given up your privacy rights because you shared something intended only for your Facebook BFFs is an idiot. And, please, feel free to quote me on that. You have my permission.

Author Dan Tynan loves to receive email from fans, but be warned that he might quote you unless you tell him not to. (He is, after all, an award-winning journalist.) Catch his snarky side at eSarcasm (Geek Humor Gone Wild) or follow him on Twitter: @tynan_on_tech.

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